Friday, 20 December 2013

The day the music died ....

Patrick Stewart in 'A Christmas Carol' - 
looking totally someone who could be a member of a certain Cathedral Chapter 

Cathedral choristers  dismissed five days before Christmas - what magnificent timing, what brilliant public relations .....  
"Bah Humbug!"  E. Scrooge

From BBC News here 
Seven professional members of a Cardiff cathedral choir have lost their jobs.
The Church in Wales will save £45,000 as it looks to claw back an expected deficit of £81,000 at Llandaff Cathedral.
The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) had urged fundraising.
But the cathedral chapter argued that the job losses were the "best and most responsible way" to secure the choir's long term future.
It said it had a "strategy" to address a "significant financial deficit".
But cathedral chorister James Davies told BBC Wales: "The choir for the time being will just consist of the boys.
"The men won't be there unfortunately. Our date of termination is tomorrow."
Start Quote"Relying on constant fundraising for one area of our responsibilities would overshadow or diminish support for other pressing needs”Llandaff Cathedral Chapter Spokesperson 
The cathedral employs professional choristers - or lay clerks as they are known - alongside 16 boy choristers.
The choir will now consist of boy choristers during the week with a budget to pay adult choristers on an occasional basis for weekend services and special occasions.
Five part-time lay clerks, a part-time choral scholar and the assistant organist will lose their permanent contracts.
'Short-sighted decision'The Cathedral Chapter said it had considered all proposals put forward over the past six weeks.
"The new funding arrangement for the choir is the best and most responsible way to secure both its long term future, and the future of the cathedral community as a whole," said a spokesperson.
"We fear that the alternative of relying on constant fundraising for one area of our responsibilities would overshadow or diminish support for other pressing needs, such as the fabric of the building, and even then could not guarantee a sustainable long term solution."
The spokesperson added that the choir would strengthen relationships with other musical organisations and develop the complementary roles of the girls' and parish choirs.
But ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts said: "Making people redundant the week before Christmas and at the choir's busiest time of year is a shocking decision that will do lasting damage both to the musical life and the reputation of Llandaff Cathedral.
"We believe that the Cathedral Chapter should reverse this short-sighted decision."
She said the decision meant the cathedral choir would be without altos, tenors or basses for its Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.
The choir, which was set up more than 130 years ago, featured in BBC series Songs of Praise in early November, and is said to be one of the last in Wales to employ professional singers.
ISM helped set up a campaign group called Save Llandaff Choir in which it says: "The importance of choral music to the cultural, economic and spiritual life of the cathedral and wider city is immense and any decision to downgrade the choir in this way would be short-sighted and highly damaging."
Friends of Cathedral Music said the job losses were a "stark warning" the costs of maintaining cathedral choirs can threaten the future of the hundreds of years of heritage.
"The heritage represented by cathedral music is priceless but it comes at a very high price and that is why, if it is to be safeguarded and sustained for generations to come, imaginative leadership and clear long-term sustainable plans for its development are needed at acutely difficult times like this," said professor Peter Toyne."
It would seem that the campaign in high places to make the Church in Wales something utterly different from what it has been in the past is proceeding apace .... and in all kinds of ways.

The link to the ISM website is here and their Save Llandaff Choir site - for messages of support - is here 


  1. I do like Patrick Stewart...

    Apart from the inept timing of this announcement, the most worrying thing about this is the complete lack of acknowledgment of the importance to all of us of having at least one choral foundation in Wales. At present something is obviously very wrong at the centre of this choral foundation but it can’t be right to deal with this by applying smoke and mirrors and making a relatively minor financial issue into an excuse for effectively winding it all up.

    It’s the failing organisation thing again – lose the things that have the most potential because there isn’t the will or the vision to put them straight so they can bear their fruit for the Kingdom.

  2. Yes, I think you are right about 'the vision thing.'
    Despite all the 'alternative' rumours flying around at the moment concerning other possible reasons for the sacking of the lay clerks, it's not so easy to reinstate something which has been scrapped. Of course, in the absence of a full-time Dean there is a clear tendency that 'things fall apart ' but a long succession of distinguished - and orthodox- occupants of the Llandaff Deanery from Glyn Simon to Alun Davies would not be impressed ....


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