Acting Director of the Cathedral Choristers
Each year the Cathedral looks to offer choristerships to four boys aged between 8-9. All our choristers attend The Cathedral School, Llandaff and as such receive an excellent academic education there, in addition to the first-class musical training from the Cathedral’s staff.
Potential Choristers do not need any prior experience to audition for the Choir. We are looking for children who enjoy singing, being part of a close-knit team and who, with their parents, will commit to a demanding but immensely rewarding schedule.
The Choristers, selected at voice trials are awarded scholarships at The Cathedral School which cover two thirds of the School fees.
The Llandaff Cathedral Choir Association (LCCA) is an enthusiastic group made up of parents of the Cathedral choristers. The LCCA has an important relationship with the Cathedral School to ensure the choristers are not unduly disadvantaged compared to non-chorister pupils and are able to fulfil their duties and partake fully in school life.
The LCCA fund-raises to finance Choir tours which have taken place biennially. In July 2013 to Paris, where they sang mass in Notre Dame Cathedral on Bastille Day, and in October 2013 facilitated the Diocesan linked Dean and Chapter tour to Uppsala in Sweden where the choir performed alongside a number of other European Cathedral choirs with Llandaff coming out on top with their quality of Cathedral music.
Though undoubtedly the main reward for being a chorister is the opportunity to sing inspiring church music, the LCCA also organises a variety of events including celebrations to mark the start and finish of the choristers’ time in the choir and other activities such as water sports, football and a family sports afternoon on the Bishop’s Field, facilitated by the Cathedral School.
The LCCA have been involved with Cathedral community activities by providing food and co-ordinating one of the Lent lunches and also provided refreshments for the Civic Trust Open Doors day in September.
To visit the Cathedral Choir Associations website please click here.
In 2007 the decision was made for the Cathedral to replace the previous organ with a completely new instrument after a lightning strike had rendered it unusable. The Cathedral chose the organ builders Nicholson & Co. of Malvern whose proposal was for the largest, wholly-new, British built organ to be commissioned in a UK cathedral for nearly half a century.
Work began in the factory in 2008, moving to the Cathedral in 2009. After approximately 30,000 man-hours, the first instalment of the organ was completed and was heard for the first time at the Paschal Vigil on Holy Saturday 2010. Due to the financial downturn, part of the project had to be put on hold. However, in October 2013 the organ was completed with the addition of the Solo Organ and additional pedal pipes.
The magnificent organ cases, situated either side of the Choir stalls, frame Sir Jacob Epstein’s Christ in Majesty contain a total of 4,870 pipes.
Cathedral schools were established to educate the boys who sang treble in their choirs. There are still almost 40 schools, of which some are preparatory schools, and some are senior independent schools. The Cathedral School, Llandaff is the only surviving Anglican choir school in Wales.
Records are incomplete but we do know that a school of some kind existed in Llandaff from the 9th Century through to the Middle Ages. In Henry VIII’s reign, a great deal of Church property was disposed of and in 1553 the Manor of Llandaff was sold. This included Bryn-y-Gynnen, which was the Bishops Manor House and was situated close to the Cathedral. During the reign of Elizabeth I the people of Glamorgan agreed to fund a teacher at £12 per annum.
The School survived an impoverished time during 1691, when it was called the Free School, and was housed in the Chapter House. Between 1794 and 1751, the present school, designed by John Wood of Bath, was built on the site of Bryn-y-Gynnen. It was known originally as Llandaff Court and was owned by Admiral Thomas Matthew. Admiral Matthew heartily disliked the building, comparing it to a "3-decker ship"! In 1840 the office of Dean was revived and the Cathedral was restored by John Pritchard. The present School Chapel was designed by lwan Christian in 1861.
An article in the Guardian in 1871, which carried an account of the start of a boarding school for choristers in Salisbury, gave the Reverend Fishbourne the idea for a similar establishment in Llandaff for some 20 boys – all potential choristers. The School was housed in a small house near Llandaff Bridge. Soon after, the Chapter cut down Fishbourne’s original scheme – much to his great disappointment.
In 1879, when Dr. Vaughan became the Dean, he began plans for a school (sadly now demolished) for around 50 boys at The Cathedral Green in Llandaff and this was opened in 1880. Dean Vaughan had been the Headmaster at Harrow School and was a great scholar; the school was opened in 1880 and remained on the Cathedral Green site until 1957. Dean Vaughan died in 1897 leaving the School with firm foundations.
A German landmine had severely damaged the Nave of the Cathedral in 1941 and, when restoration work was completed in 1955, the old School building was deemed to be "unsuitable" and the Cathedral School was moved to the present premises, which had until then been used as the Bishop’s Palace. The School then became a member of the Nathaniel Woodard Corporation.
In 1958 there were 190 boys in 9 forms. Today there are 650 pupils ranging from Nursery to GCSE.
To visit The Cathedral School website click here.
The Cathedral Parish Choir consists of boys, girls, men and women and is a fundamental part of the Parish community.
The full choir sings at the 09:00 Parish Eucharist every Sunday and the adults sing at the 17:30 Service of Compline in the Lady Chapel every Sunday.
Rehearsals are held as follows:
In addition to a full singing schedule, there are many social functions throughout the year. The boys and girls usually play football on the Cathedral Green after a Monday rehearsal during the summer months.
Applications to join the Choir are always welcome and anyone interested should contact the Director of the Parish Choir, David Thomas email.
David also teaches the organ at the Cathedral and anyone interested in having lessons should contact him.
The Society constantly looks to its future and keen prospective singers are invited to contact the Secretary or the Conductor for more information. Rehearsals are on Monday evenings between 19:30 and 21:30 during term-time at the Llandaff City Church-in-Wales Primary School.
To visit the Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society website click here.
Cathedral Website - this page last updated: 22 January 2016 9:43