Statements of support
I write with deep sadness to express my regret at recent events which have unfolded in the Cathedral Church of St Peter & St Paul in Sheffield.
I have no first hand experience of the work of the Choir, but like many other people, I have seen the BBC broadcast from Easter Day 2018 where quite complex repertoire is negotiated with rhythmic vitality and attractive tonal quality. This broadcast would do credit to any Cathedral Choir – let alone one without a Choir School.
These are grim times for all musicians. Seldom can pastoral care for Church musicians have been more necessary. The public statements of the Dean and Chapter do not seem to show an awareness that the Choir are part of their congregation. In particular the damage done to the younger members of the Choir is likely to be serious and long lasting. Nurturing a love of sacred music is an intrinsic part of any Cathedral’s mission; it is hard to see how dismissing these devoted choristers can serve that purpose.
The resignation of the Director of Music, particularly in the context of considerable turnover in previous years, will have created great insecurity among the members of the Choir. Nothing I have read or heard shows that the Cathedral Chapter has taken account of this or felt in any way responsible for it. Whatever the outcome of this sad affair, the new Director of Music (if such can be found in this unpromising situation) will need to be managed in a more sensitive way. It is important for all those in the Cathedral to esteem the talents of their musicians and make them feel valued and respected. It is unequivocally clear that this has not been achieved in recent months.
I call upon all concerned to work for reconciliation and reinstatement so that the work of the Music Department can continue to embellish the worship of God in this place.
Hilary Davan Wetton (Hon. D.Mus., MA, FRBC, ARCM)
Principal Conductor City of London Choir Conductor Emeritus Guildford Choral Society Associate Conductor London Mozart Players Artistic Director Military Wives Choirs Musical Director Jersey Symphony Orchestra