Arundel Cathedral and The Archbishops’ Chorister Medal awards
Twelve choristers at Arundel Cathedral were the first in the country to receive a brand new award from Dame Mary Archer, president of the Guild of Church Musicians (GCM) which encourages musicians of all denominations to attain the highest standards of music in worship.
During a special ceremony in the West Sussex cathedral each of the choristers aged 10 to 14 were presented with the guild’s new Archbishops’ Chorister Medal.
The new medal, which depicts the GCM logo and is worn on a gold cord, expands an already wide range of established guild qualifications under the patronage of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster.
The concept of a new chorister medal, created specifically for those under the age of 18, was proposed and developed by the organist and master of the choristers at Arundel Cathedral, Elizabeth Stratford (above).
Commenting on the syllabus for the examination choristers must pass to be awarded the medal, she said: ‘I very much hope that this will appeal to other choir trainers with young singers as it is suited to those of all religious denominations in schools and churches.’
The aim of the Archbishops' Chorister Medal is not only to develop practical skills in performance, but also to encourage attentive listening and reflection on the role of music in worship. It differs from other examinations because it is not solely a performance assessment; instead it seeks to test skills which are central to a chorister’s development and evolution as a musician.
Commenting on the new award Dame Mary said: ‘Church music is at an important crossroads. More and more churches are finding it difficult to get someone to play the organ at services, yet there is a greater interest in church music than ever before.
‘Attendance at our cathedrals and major parish churches, with their splendid music, is at an all-time high, yet disputes about church music are on the increase.’
Among those attending the award ceremony were the Mayor of Arundel, Councillor Wendy Eve, and Patrick Burgess MBE, chairman of the Friends of Arundel Cathedral.