a major £5 million appeal is being launched at an ancient cathedral in the region to ensure its acclaimed 1,300-year tradition of music is secured in perpetuity.
The music at Ripon Cathedral has a national reputation but it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet its annual costs.
Instead the newly-formed Ripon Cathedral Music Trust will create a separate fund for the department which is responsible for the choir, and maintaining the organ and other musical instruments at the cathedral.
The appeal, which has been kick-started with a £500,000 donation from events organised by the Ripon Cathedral Development Campaign, will be launched at Evensong on Sunday next week which includes the choristers’ annual performance of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.
Trust chairman Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred said: “The music at the Cathedral currently costs some £250,000 per annum 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 is led by director of music Andrew Bryden and includes six lay clerks and 48 choristers drawn from local schools. Future plans for the choir include an outreach programme involving schools and communities across the region.
The trustees of the appeal include the Bishop of Ripon, the Right Rev James Bell, and the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, Tom Ramsden. Its patrons include Lord Crathorne, until recently Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, and the cathedral’s Dean, the Very Rev John Dobson.
He said: “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.”
Evensong on December 14 will be followed by a reception where guests can find out more about plans for the trust. Among other events being planned is a London performance by the choir in April at Lambeth Palace.