Jump to content
The Christmas Logo Competition is back. See thread in Sheffield Discussions for details ×

Sheffield Cathedral To Disband Choir To Take Account Of Diversity

Recommended Posts

With the greatest of respect I suggest that the Church of England is enjoying a terminal decline because of this sort of cultural vandalism, not because it isn't diverse enough. I say this as an agnostic.

 

Christianity is a touchstone for a myriad of traditions across the world but most of all because it represents an anchor of certainty in a world that is uncertain while looking forward to the certainty of life everlasting. Choirs aren't the problem for the Church of England, it is the churchmen and women who think they can dispense with what congregations hold dear who are the problem. 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jul/23/sheffield-cathedral-to-disband-choir-to-take-account-of-diversity 

Quote

Sheffield cathedral to disband choir to take account of diversity

 

Dean says music must have ‘wider reach’ to reflect changing city 

 

In a break with centuries of tradition, Sheffield cathedral is to stand down its 40-strong choir in order to make a “completely fresh start” with a new team of choristers that reflects and engages with an increasingly diverse city.

A statement published on the cathedral’s website on Wednesday said “significant change” was needed. The cathedral’s governing body, the Chapter, had decided on “a new model for Anglican choral life here, with a renewed ambition for engagement and inclusion”, it added.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I despair!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Martin C said:

I despair!

You're not the only one - where do they find these people?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would imagine these sorts of things can be awfully cliquey but disbanding sounds daft to me. Is having a carefully chosen choir (based on box ticking) make greater numbers come through the doors?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about a longer quote that might actually be more informative?

 

Apart from a handful of adult singers, the current choir is drawn largely from private schools in the Sheffield area and mainly performs music from the Anglican choral tradition.

 

Peter Bradley, the cathedral’s dean, said: “The city is changing pretty quickly and we feel cathedral music needs to have a wider reach. We want to be more ambitious, and that means engaging with a wider group of children and reaching parts of the city we haven’t reached before.”

In future, there may be more than one choir drawn from larger numbers of children and university students, he said.

The population of Sheffield and the surrounding area is growing, getting younger and becoming more diverse, and in recent years, the cathedral had welcomed refugees and supported people living on the streets, Bradley said.

“We need to be engaging with people who are part of this changing city. We believe strongly in equality and giving as many children as possible the opportunity to sing at the highest level.”

 

The appeal of church music was wide but sometimes “presented in a way that can be seen as elitist”, he said.

Bradley acknowledged the decision to close the current choir would “cause genuine grief”. He hoped that some of the existing choristers would become members of a new choir, which will be formed after the appointment of a new canon precentor this summer.

The new choir will continue to perform music from the Anglican choral tradition but will broaden its repertoire, he said.

“This sort of change in our sort of institution can be immensely painful, but that’s not a reason not to move forward. My view is that many cathedrals will be making similar changes over the next few years.

“It’s going to be a bit torrid for us, but we’re not going to sit in a bunker.”

The decision to disband the choir was not related to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has threatened the future of some cathedral choirs, said a source. However, the recent lockdown, during which choirs have been unable to sing or rehearse together, provided an opportunity to institute radical change.

“Choirs have very fixed patterns, and we didn’t think that a gradualist approach would allow us to move quickly enough,” said Bradley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hardly cultural vandalism, more adapting to a changing demographic.

 

Surely it's far easier to disband the choir than tell existing individuals that they have to leave due to a new policy of inclusiveness? Imagine the furore if half the choir were asked to leave solely on the basis that new recruits were needed and that the choir could support no more than its current number. Now that would have your rags frothing about diversity and positive discrimination in a big way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, max said:

Hardly cultural vandalism, more adapting to a changing demographic.

 

Surely it's far easier to disband the choir than tell existing individuals that they have to leave due to a new policy of inclusiveness? Imagine the furore if half the choir were asked to leave solely on the basis that new recruits were needed and that the choir could support no more than its current number. Now that would have your rags frothing about diversity and positive discrimination in a big way.

You know full well that inclusivity is not the same as diversity Max.

 

Nationally, CofE congregations are majority white British, however, the black Caribbean/African CofE representation is a little more than the wider population. The Asian representation is much lower and needs no explaining why the UK asian population doesn't attend Christian churches in proportionally similar numbers. 

 

We can easily check if it is cultural vandalism. Would it be cultural vandalism for a Buddhist temple's monks to do away with traditional chants and include a programme of All Things Bright And Beautiful if the congregation didn't want it? The Cathedral's action is a needlessly egregious example of top down dictat. That's pretty much how Sheffield works these days so perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like there may be more to this that just a push for diversity

Sheffield Cathedral, which closed its choir this week to an outcry from parents, former choristers and musicians, is being investigated over allegations of bullying and harassment.



The cathedral’s dean, Peter Bradley, ordered an external inquiry after complaints were made to its governing body, the Chapter, over alleged bullying of musical staff and volunteers.

Two parents of choristers wrote to the dean and Chapter in April, detailing a specific incident in which a member of staff allegedly received a 45-minute threatening and intimidating phone call at midnight from a cathedral official.

A member of the Chapter told the parents an investigation into similar allegations was already under way. The parents made a second complaint relating to bullying and harassment to the bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.