Choirs return to Winchester Cathedral

September 11, 2020

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The internationally acclaimed choirs of Winchester Cathedral will return this Monday after a six-month halt under COVID-19 restrictions.

It has been the longest the cathedral has gone without a choir, since the English Civil War, but now, following guidance on singing issued by the Government and Church of England, the cathedral has carefully planned the safe and gradual return of choral worship. The first beginning on Monday with Evensong at 5.30pm and then every day, except Wednesdays.

As the choristers returned for rehearsals this week, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester said: ‘It’s marvellous to see the choir back in the cathedral and to hear choral music resound again in this ancient space.

‘The choir of Winchester Cathedral is not only a fundamental part of its worship, but also one of its crowning delights.  The return of the choir’s unique energy and beauty to worship will be a source of enormous joy.’

While choirs were not able to sing in the cathedral for nearly half a year, they were not silenced. The Girl and Boy choristers took to producing music from their own homes for online services. These not only supported the cathedral’s congregation but reached global audiences during lock-down, through the Winchester Cathedral YouTube channel.

Now that choirs are returning to the cathedral, and now that services are livestreamed, audiences will be able to access Winchester’s renowned choral music, live from the cathedral, anywhere in the world.  ‘This means a potential world-wide audience can enjoy music from this special place’ says the Dean.

The return of the Winchester Cathedral Choir was enabled by funding from the Church Commissioners, supporting churches and cathedrals to bring choirs back into places of worship. The Revd Canon Andy Trenier, responsible for liturgy and music at the cathedral, said:

‘We are grateful to the Church Commissioners and welcome this tremendous news to restore the much valued choral tradition to this great cathedral. From Remembrance to Christmas the music will be giving great solace to many.’

Full details of services can be found on the Winchester Cathedral website and it is advised to check online before visiting.