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A springboard for young musicians

Friday 18 November

For the first time, Peterborough Cathedral Choir has a full set of three choral scholars, singing alto, tenor and bass.

The scholarships were set up in 2014 to give promising young musicians the opportunity to gain a year of musical experience, singing daily choral liturgies to a high standard. The scholarships also provide for singing lessons and mentoring. They were set up thanks to financial support from the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust, The Wates Foundation, The G.M.C. Trust and The Ouseley Trust.

Being a choral scholar can be a life changing experience as the first two scholars to complete the programme testify. Charles Cunliffe, who took up his scholarship straight after school, has since been selected for a four year course at the Royal Academy of Music and hopes to become a professional singer. “Without the choral scholarship I wouldn't have had the skills necessary to audition successfully,” he said. “The rate at which I improved musically whilst being a scholar is incredible.”

Alice Risden, who also took up her scholarship straight from school and has gone on to study English Literature, agreed. “When I think of how I have developed as a musician over the past year, I feel immensely proud of the distance I have come.” Her motivation when applying for the role was to continue to be part of “the heritage and spirituality that comprises all I love about the choral tradition and Christianity.” She says that, “being able to acquaint myself with that spirituality and tangible history on a daily basis has been hugely enriching and way beyond my expectations of the musical focus of the role.”

The new scholars who started in September are Rachel Miller (alto) from Queen’s College Oxford, Owen Huxford (bass) from Tonbridge School and Fred Stanford (tenor) from the University of York. They are pictured above with the Cathedral’s organ scholar, James Bowstead.

Charles CunliffeAlice Risden