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Friends of Cathedral Music launches the Cathedral Music Trust

The Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) was formed in 1956 in order to support music in our cathedrals and to provide a social platform for Friends through Gatherings and events at cathedrals around the country.  It has given generous grants to cathedrals, church and collegiate chapel choirs in the UK and overseas, including over £2 million in the past six years alone.

Chester has in the past been fortunate to receive grants: £20,000 was given in 2016 to support chorister bursaries and more recently, £16,650 to support the music department during the pandemic lockdowns.

Until recently, the organisation has been run and administered by a group of enthusiastic amateur volunteers.  However, the pandemic and the recent fundraising efforts needed to support cathedral music have meant that the “Friends” have had to comply with the complex rules and regulations applicable to “large” charities.  This has meant that they have had to restructure, with professional staff and administrators in order to ensure that they comply with the very strict charities regulations.

In order to do this, FCM have formed the Cathedral Music Trust and we are very fortunate to have Harry Christophers CBE, the founder and conductor of The Sixteen as our first President!

The Cathedral Music Trust’s objective is to be a voice for cathedral music, upholding this integral part of the nation’s cultural heritage by campaigning on behalf of cathedral music and musicians, supporting choirs and choristers in need, and encouraging the pursuit of excellence in choral and organ music.

I have had the privilege of being FCM’s Chester Diocesan Representative since 2016 and the formation of the Cathedral Music Trust has led to some changes in my role.  I am now the Chester Area Representative and whilst the objectives of my new role are very similar to the old, much of the administrative work and formal communication to members will be carried out by the Trust’s professional staff.  This should allow me to concentrate on providing information about the Trust’s work, recruiting new members and the organisation of Gatherings.

Hopefully when conditions allow, we will be able to hold another Gathering in Chester.  If you have any ideas about what you would like to include in the agenda or what you would like as part of the meeting, please let me know!

The Cathedral Music Trust aims to ensure that our extraordinary living musical tradition does not just survive but evolves and flourishes!

If you would like to know more about the work of the Cathedral Music Trust or are interested in membership, please don’t hesitate to either contact myself, or visit the Trust’s website!

Dr. Paul Stockbridge
Chester Area Representative.