THE BRISTOL CATHEDRAL CHOIR
There has been a choir at Bristol
Cathedral since the reign of Henry VIII, and a tradition
of music probably since the days of the Augustinians
who founded the abbey in 1180.
Since 1542 when Thomas Denny was
appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers there
have been 32 holders of this post, leading the choir
to ensure that "the praises of God shall day by
day be sung with perpetual jubilation."
Bristol Cathedral has an illustrious
musical heritage, boasting Edward Gibbons, brother of
Orlando, and Elway Bevin, pupil of Tallis, among its
former Organists. This is as well as the first
performance, in 1758, of Handel`s Messiah to take place
in an English Church. John Wesley was also present
in the congregation.
The present choir consists of
16 Choristers, all of whom are educated at Bristol Cathedral
School, and 6 Lay Clerks. At weekends the number
of men increases to 9, being supplemented by a combination
of Supernumerary Lay Clerks and Deputies.
Choral Evensong is sung everyday
by either the full choir, the Choristers, the Lay Clerks
or the Girls' Choir. The repertoire is broad with music
from plainsong to the latest contemporary works.
In 1975 the Choral Foundation
was established to provide assistance in funding the
Choristerships, and now provides a scholarship to the
value of 50% school fees. As well as the
regular routines of daily services, the choir enjoys
a wide range of other activities including radio and
TV work, appearances in the Opera Tosca at the Bristol
Hippodrome in October 2000. As well as participation
in the Four Choirs Festival, as well as Bristol Cathedrals
own music festival.