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Abbey secures funding for choral services

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020

Abbey secures funding for choral services

The return of choral services at Westminster Abbey has been bolstered by a grant of £20,000 from the Cathedral Choirs’ Emergency Fund.

This fund supports ‘lay clerks and choral scholars’ and is managed by the Cathedral Music Trust. This support is the first time the grant has been extended to a Royal Peculiar, which is responsible directly to the Sovereign.

Choral services resumed at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 16th August 2020 for the first time in five months. When six members of the Abbey’s famous choir sang at the 11.15am Eucharist it signified the first sung service in the Abbey church since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed 21 weeks previously.

The full Abbey choir had last sung at Evensong on Tuesday 17th March. The Covid-19 lockdown which followed two days later meant that the Abbey closed its doors and choral services were suspended. Even when worship began at the Abbey, the choir could not take part until the government issued guidance on choral singing.

The five-month hiatus is the longest the Abbey choir has been silent since the Second World War.

The Abbey choir – observing all social distancing rules – is now singing Eucharist and Evensong on Sundays and Evensong on five weekdays.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, said:

Welcoming back our choir and the sound of choral music into the Abbey has been one of the most significant and inspiring moments for the Abbey, as it emerges from the constraints of the last few months. Offering of our best to God is at the heart of what we do. We are hugely encouraged by the support of the Emergency Fund and very grateful.

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At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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