Croydon Minster’s choirs have been named among some of the best-known singing groups from cathedrals around the country as recipients of a special grant in recognition of their outstanding work and performances.
The Cathedral Music Trust has named Croydon Minster along with 21 choirs around the country, including Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and St David’s in Wales, to receive grants.
The grant is a huge boost for Justin Miller, recently appointed as Croydon Minster’s director of music.
The money from the grant will enable a singing development leader to go into schools to promote singing and all the benefits that accrue from it.
“We want children and teachers to find their voices,” Miller said.
Miller, who combines his role at the Minster with being director of choral music at Whitgift School, is on a mission to raise the profile of singing in local schools.
“When children sing, they are taking in and processing a vast amount of information in an extremely complex way,” Miller said.
“This uses more areas of the brain than any other activity. If it’s made an enjoyable experience, they don’t even know they are doing it. The benefits in terms of confidence, socialisation, numeracy, and language development are well-documented, aiding both the individual and the school environment.”
The choirs of Croydon Minster rose to prominence following the live broadcast of Midnight Mass on BBC1 at Christmas 2019. Since then, they have been heard perform on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3.
The Minster’s choral foundation consists of around 80 singers: a boys’ choir of about 20 made up of pupils from Whitgift and other local schools, a girls’ choir of a similar number from Old Palace and other schools, plus singers with lower voices including choral scholars and graduates.
The award will mean that choristers coming for rehearsals at the Minster will also be able to have individual singing lessons too.
Canon Andrew Bishop, the priest-in-charge of Croydon Minster, welcomed the grant. “The Cathedral Music Trust grant is great news for Croydon Minster and for choral singing in Croydon.
“The grant makes possible our long-held aspirations to widen the choral excellence we already have and, working in partnership with local schools, to share this wonderful tradition of music with more children and young people.”
Peter Allwood, the chair of the Cathedral Music Trust, said, “Sacred choral music brings joy to people and life to our cathedrals, churches and communities. This round of funding will help develop the music-making in choral foundations that is deeply loved and admired by local communities and international audiences.”
The choirs at Croydon Minster sing two services each Sunday: Eucharist is at 10am and Evensong is at 6.30pm. During the week in school term time, Choral Evensong takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5.30pm.
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