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Portsmouth Cathedral Choir received a 'lifeline' grant from the Cathedral Choirs’ Emergency Fund

Josephine Miles

Choirs’ Emergency Fund reaches £2 million

4:48, 7th January 2021

The Cathedral Choirs’ Emergency Fund has distributed a second round of grants to cathedrals across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total amount awarded to £2 million.

The Emergency Fund – a partnership between the Cathedral Music Trust, Ouseley Church Music Trust and the Choir Schools’ Association – was launched to provide immediate support for cathedral choirs unable to function during the Covid pandemic. All three partners contributed £250,000 to the fund, with a further £250,000 raised from donations to reach the £1 million target; a sum which was doubled by matched funding from the Church Commissioners.

Portsmouth, Ripon, Hereford and Derby cathedrals were among those to receive grants in the latest round of funding, awarded at the end of 2020. In a statement on its website, Portsmouth Cathedral said that the grant will provide a ‘lifeline’ to the 70+ musicians across its three choirs and will safeguard the cathedral’s choral tradition and pattern of sung services until the summer this year.

David Price, organist and master of choristers at Portsmouth, commented: ‘This support from the Cathedral Choirs’ Emergency Fund is so welcome. It will make a real difference to our ability to weather the storm of coronavirus and keep making transcendent and uplifting music, day in, day out.’

Demand for the second round of emergency grants, however, was three times higher than the funds available, demonstrating an urgent need for continued financial support in the coming months. The Cathedral Music Trust will therefore launch a further campaign in 2021 to provide ongoing support to cathedral choirs, as well as college chapels and major churches with professional choirs.

Peter Allwood, chairman of the Cathedral Music Trust, thanked the performers and members of the public who had donated to help the Emergency Fund achieve its £1 million target, stating that the grants will go ‘some way’ towards providing essential support for several choirs. ‘However,’ he continued, ‘we are keenly aware of the continued financial pressures many choirs are experiencing, and we will stay in close communication with those who did not receive a grant on this occasion and assist in any way that we can. The Trust is committed to raising more funds to ensure our precious musical tradition is not only preserved but enhanced.’


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