Launch of £5 million Ripon Cathedral music appeal

Music appeal launchA major appeal to guarantee the future of the music at Ripon Cathedral is to be formally launched at the Cathedral on Sunday December 14th.   The aim of the campaign is to raise £5million over the next five years which will ensure the music at the Cathedral – which has a nationwide reputation - is secured in perpetuity.

Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred  (pictured right with Very Revd John Donson and choir members) - the chair of the newly-formed Ripon Cathedral Music Trust, said: “The music at the Cathedral currently costs some £250,000 pa which comes out of the Cathedral’s overall operating budget.  This is already at full stretch and the plan is to establish a separate fund for all the music department’s running costs which will ensure this valuable musical heritage is secure for the future.”

The music department – which is also responsible for maintaining the organ and other musical instruments at the Cathedral - is led by Andrew Bryden, the director of music, and includes six lay clerks and 48 choristers drawn from local schools.  In addition to singing at the Cathedral, future plans for the choir include an inclusive outreach programme involving schools and communities across the region.

The appeal is to be launched in Ripon Cathedral at Evensong at 5.30pm on December 14th which will also include the choristers’ annual performance of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.  This will be followed by a reception where guests can find out more about plans for the new Music Trust.

The Trustees of the appeal include the Right Rev. James Bell, Bishop for Ripon and Tom Ramsden  – the  High Sheriff of North Yorkshire – as well as Philip Arundel, Andrew Kitchingman, Richard Graham, Richard Abbott and Stuart Ritchie QC. 

To date, patrons of the Trust include Lord Crathorne, who has recently retired as Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, and The Very Rev’d John Dobson, the Dean of Ripon Cathedral, who said: “I am delighted this major appeal is now underway.  I believe the experience of worshippers and visitors at the Cathedral is significantly enhanced by the quality of the music and it is a key part of the daily services which are enjoyed by so many.  Without the choir and the music we would have a strangely silent building and a 1,300 year-old history of choral excellence would cease.  We all look forward to working with other musical groups and those who share our passion for music as we start on the road towards our target.”

The appeal has been kick-started with a £500,000 donation from fund-raising and events organised by the Ripon Cathedral Development Campaign.

“We have set ourselves a challenging target but have made a good start,” added Sir Andrew.  “We have plans for many exciting events in the future including a London performance by the choir in April at Lambeth Palace.”

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