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R is for…Ripon

Today, 18 December, we are off to Yorkshire, to visit Ripon Cathedral.

View our complete Advent Calendar here

The cathedral can trace its roots back to 672AD, when St Wilfrid, then abbot of the monastery at Ripon built a stone basilica with a crypt in the style of buildings he had seen in Rome. The cathedral above ground has been rebuilt several times but the crypt survives, making Ripon the oldest structure of any English cathedral.

Ripon Cathedral image courtesy of the Association of English Cathedrals

Ripon Cathedral image courtesy of the Association of English Cathedrals

St Wilfrid brought a choir from Canterbury Cathedral when he came to Ripon, and the choir has been making music in the cathedral ever since.

Ripon Cathedral Choir

The cathedral choir is made up of boys and girls (aged 8 – 13) and six lay clerks. The boys and girls attend a variety of local schools. The cathedral also has a junior choir for children aged 6 to 9 and a youth choir, Unity Voice, for young people aged 12 to 18.

The choristers are currently on their pre-Christmas break, having just performed Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, but will be back for rehearsals on 22nd December in preparation for the carol services and services on Christmas Day.

Ethan, one of the choristers, really enjoyed rehearsals leading up to the Ceremony of Carols:

“being together with the whole choir, girls and boys, is really fun. The hard week of rehearsals ends on a high with a Christmas party, and performing together in the Ceremony of Carols is amazing!”

Theo said,

“Singing the Ceremony of Carols kicks off the start of a busy and enjoyable time of Christmas for all the choristers. Music is the heart of Christmas!”

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carol, Ripon Cathedral

FCM has been pleased to help Ripon Cathedral with a Small Revenue Grant.

Director of Music, Andrew Bryden, said:

“The grant has enabled us to renew some of the choir’s robes, thus meaning that choristers have robes that aren’t too big or small, and therefore they don’t spend all the time tripping over them when processing because they are too long, or being unable to breathe when they sing as they are too tight.”

We are very glad to help the choir feel more comfortable when they are performing! FCM’s grant making is made possible by the generous donations from Friends and supporters.

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FCM promotes the work of choral foundations through the year. If you would like to hear more from us, please sign up to our emailing list:

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Find out more about the music and services at Ripon Cathedral