Today we have travelled to the ancient cathedral city of Gloucester! We will listen to the Cathedral Choir sing Lauridsen's exquisite O Magnum Mysterium for us.
The Choir at Gloucester Cathedral, originally consisting of Boy Choristers and Lay Clerks, was established on the orders of King Henry VIII in 1541. Girl Choristers were first recruited to sing in the Choir in 2016; for girls, full equality of opportunity began in September 2021, with the award of the first choral scholarships for Girl Choristers.
Besides the Cathedral Choir, Gloucester has three additional choirs: the Junior, Middle and Youth choir, all made up of young singers from local schools. All three choirs sing regular services at the Cathedral, with the Youth Choir responsible for Evensong once a week. The Cathedral Choir sings the other seven of the eight choral services each week in term time. The choirs also sing in the major carol services at Advent, Christmas and Candlemas and sing the Christmas and Easter services. At least once a year, the Cathedral Choir sings Evensong live on BBC Radio 3; it performed the BBC’s Parry Centenary Memorial Evensong in 2018, and it has been invited to perform a similar memorial evensong for Gloucestershire’s other great composer of choral music, Vaughan Williams, in 2022.The Choir regularly takes part in concerts with other prestigious choirs and orchestras, most notably the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with whom the choir has a close relationship. In 2018, the Choristers sang in a live broadcast of Britten’s War Requiem as part of the BBC’s World War 1 festival of remembrance.
Gloucester Cathedral Choir is one of the three choirs – along with those of Hereford and Worcester Cathedrals- to contribute to the world’s oldest choral music festival, the Three Choirs Festival, which held its 293rd meeting in 2021. The annual week long festival, which takes place at each cathedral in turn will next be hosted by Gloucester Cathedral in 2023.
Your gift this Christmas will enable us to support choirs all year round and continue sharing this extraordinary musical heritage with people of all ages and backgrounds.
What's more, thanks to a generous matched-funding pledge of £25,000 towards our Christmas Campaign, every donation made between now and 31 December will be doubled!