Truro Cathedral choir: Everything you need to know
Jeremy Pound takes a look at the history of Truro Cathedral Choir, ahead of their performance at King Charles III coronation
How old is Truro Cathedral Choir?
Truro Cathedral Choir dates back to the founding of Truro Cathedral itself, back in the 1880s.
Who are Truro Cathedral Choir?
Today, the choir is made up of 12 adult singers, plus 34 boy and girl choristers. The boys are in school years 4 to 8 (9-13 years old) and the girls are in years 9 to 13 (14-18 years old). The adults sing in all services, with the boys and girls alternating. Situated in the heart of Cornwall, Truro is England’s most southerly cathedral.
We named Truro Cathedral Choir one of the best cathedral and abbey choirs across the UK
When can I hear the choir sing?
The choir sings Evensong in the Cathedral four times a week, and usually at Eucharist on a Sunday Morning as well – the Cathedral’s website indicates whether it is boys or girls (or sometimes both) singing on each occasion. The choir also goes on tours, gives concerts and makes regular recordings, both on disc and for the radio.
Truro Cathedral choir will also be singing at King Charles III's coronation service on 6 May 2023
Who is the choirmaster of Truro Cathedral Choir?
The current organist and master of the choristers (i.e. choirmaster) is James Anderson-Besant, who took over from Christopher Gray at the beginning of 2023.
Gray himself left to fill the vacancy at St John’s College, Cambridge created by Andrew Nethsingha, recently appointed choirmaster at Westminster Abbey. Nethsingha is, in fact, also a former Truro Cathedral organist and master of the choristers, having held the post from 1994-2002.
Does Truro Cathedral have a strong musical tradition?
Yes, and one notable feather in its cap is that this is where, on 24 December 1880, the first ever service of Nine Lessons and Carols was held. It was the idea of Edward Benson, bishop of Truro, who wanted an accessible service that might entice people out of the pub and into church on Christmas Eve.
The format was adopted by King’s College, Cambridge at the end of World War I and then became famous thanks to the BBC’s Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols radio broadcast from King’s College Chapel every Christmas Eve. Many choirs across the globe now also follow the same format.
What Truro Cathedral Choir recording should I listen to?
Try In My Father’s House, the choir’s 2017 recording of music by Philip Stopford. One of today’s most accomplished choral composers, Stopford was himself organ scholar (i.e. organist) at Truro Cathedral from 1995-96.
How old is Truro cathedral?
The building of Truro Cathedral began in 1880. As the first British cathedral in over 800 years to be built from scratch and the only one to be both begun and finished in the 19th century, Truro has a certain rarity value for cathedral spotters.
It is also one of only three UK cathedrals to have three spires – the others are Lichfield and St Mary’s, Edinburgh – the tallest of which is 77 metres tall. The southernmost cathedral in England, its diocese covers Cornwall, the Scilly Isles and a tiny slither of Devon. Current restoration work is being carried out to replace much of the cathedral’s porous and crumbly Bath stone with more durable Cotswold stone.
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Jeremy Pound is currently BBC Music Magazine’s Deputy Editor, a role he has held since 2004. Before that, he was the features editor of Classic CD magazine, and has written for a colourful array of publications ranging from Music Teacher to History Revealed, Total Football and Environment Action; in 2018, he edited and co-wrote The King’s Singers: Gold 50th anniversary book.