Creativity in a Crisis

During the coronavirus outbreak, we believe fulfilling our mission of making music education and performance opportunities accessible to all children and young people across the Diocese of Leeds is now more important than ever.

Studies show that music, particularly singing, contributes to broader learning across the curriculum, as well as improving mental and physical well-being and building cohesion. During the coronavirus outbreak, these benefits will prove even more worthwhile whilst choristers are confined to their homes. Keeping children busy and maintaining a sense of routine will also be a great help to families at this time.

We have worked hard to move our choral, school and instrumental programmes online, and have been delivering our full programme of rehearsals since 30th March. Read on to find out how our staff are continuing to reach thousands of young people across our region.

YouTube singing reaches thousands 

Our expert Choral Directors are inspiring schools and families with their brilliant online singing sessions, with nearly 20,000 views so far! The daily sessions include an uplifting mix of sacred and secular songs, music curriculum, vocal learning and LOTS of fun. In addition we have a weekly early years session and secondary school pop choir. 

Watch and subscribe now >>

Choirs thrive online

‘This is even better than normal choir’ – one chorister is clearly having a great time in our online rehearsals! We continue to provide our choirs with their regular rehearsal schedule, finding new ways to explore music, provide focus and most importantly retain the sense of belonging and community within the 18 groups rehearsing every week. Innovative teaching methods are allowing the children to learn new music, develop musicianship and music theory skills, contribute to regular recordings and keep in touch with their choir friends!

‘Both our children loved their session today – they even put on their choir ties! I loved seeing their smiles and we couldn’t help but notice yours too.’

Choir Parent

Instrumental teaching continues through lockdown

The Organists’ Training Programme is now reaching 35 students through online organ, piano and accordion lessons every week. One parent describes the positive impact this is having on her daughter:

‘The online instrumental teaching Mr Pipe has provided my 11-year-old daughter through this period of lockdown has been invaluable. The half-hour weekly lessons have ensured that she continues to develop and learn even though she is not attending school. Working at home on the piano rather than an organ has not been a barrier to her progress. Mr Pipe has found ways to exchange music and ensure she hits the ground running at the start of each lesson. The fast-paced, fun online teaching has ensured that my daughter remains committed, enthusiastic and focused from week to week. Mr Pipe has continued to impart his vast knowledge, expertise and passion, bringing music and the organ to life at home.’

BBC Radio 4

On Sunday 3 May, the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme featured the work of our singing programme, looking at how we’ve moved our 18 after-school choirs online and continued to reach our school communities through daily YouTube singing sessions led by our Choral Directors.

Leeds Cathedral Choir School is still singing!

Holy Rosary and St Anne’s Primary School in Chapeltown is home to the Leeds Cathedral Choir School. Their Choral Director, Sally Egan, is now recording sessions from home to keep the children and their families singing:

‘Singing brings us so much joy as a school community and we are determined to keep that flame alive, throughout the lockdown. We have set up a new Choir School Youtube Channel where we post songs, Family Singing Sessions and hymns in keeping with the Liturgical Calendar. We are using the new resources as a focus in school and we have asked families to send us videos of the children singing along at home so that we can post them on the school Facebook page.

Continuing to take the lead

Following the success of our April Webinar: Practical Approaches to Cathedral Choir Rehearsals Online, we hosted another national webinar on the 12th May titled Transformation or Extinction? Planning for the New Normal. This session considered longer-term issues for music-making under lockdown. Read more >>

#GivingTuesdayNow

On the 5th May we celebrated #GivingTuesdayNow with thousands of other charities around the world. On this global day of unity and giving, we wanted to thank our staff, choir members, school communities and donors all of whom are making our work possible during these difficult circumstances!

This day also enabled us to highlight our Coronavirus Appeal which has now raised over £1,000. Can you help us reach £2,000? Please consider texting CHURCH MUSIC to 70500 to contribute £5 to the Coronavirus Emergency Music Appeal.

Leeds International Organ Festival LIVE

We’re delighted that the billed Monday recitalists for Leeds International Organ Festival 2020 are generously providing video and audio clips for us to broadcast on our LIOF YouTube channel each week, so that everyone can enjoy these world-class performers from the comfort of their own homes.

Tune in each Monday at 1.15 pm for these online lunchtime recitals at lioflive.org.uk 

We are thrilled to announce the release of our new podcast, ‘Pipe up! The Organ Podcast’. Episodes are released weekly and are hosted by David Pipe, the Festival’s Artistic Director, who’ll be joined by guests to chat about the online Monday recital series. Guests will include some of the recitalists themselves, alongside composers, conductors and music journalists.

The first episode was released on Friday 15th May and is available on popular podcast platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Our Director of the Schools Singing Programme @thomas_leech writes for @ISM_music on our work during lockdown and the absolute necessity to fight for opportunity and equality in choral music - hugely under threat at the moment.
https://www.ism.org/blog/choral-continuation-singing-through-pandemic

In this packed KS3/4 session, Alex explores common chord sequences, taking in over 15 songs in the process! We'll also use the fantastic gospel song Great is He to learn the musical meaning of "canon". Plus, One Kylection return! Today at 3pm https://youtu.be/-oVCuYCUhrw

Tom's on in a few minutes! A lovely warm-up and some cracking songs, including Simple Gifts, El Cumbanchero and can you chuck a chop of chicken or chop a chiptole chilli up?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=birOaya8vPY

It's bleak and rainy today - why not pop one of our singing sessions on to brighten the mood! We have a new session out at 2pm, and LOADS of sessions available on our YouTube channel http://www.schoolssingingprogramme.org.uk

@MusicMagazine I'm sure this isn't what you're asking for but...cheer yourself up with a singing session from @DOLMusic http://www.schoolssingingprogramme.org.uk - throughout lockdown we've been smashing out excellent online sessions for the 1000s of children we work with, from schools to our cathedral choirs...

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My voice is changing right now so I’m in this range where I can sing quite high or low, so I can either sing treble or tenor right now! When I sing it gives me more confidence in school and everywhere. The whole choir feels like a community and you get to meet lots of new people as well. My favourite pieces are some of the Glorias, I also like singing in other languages. 13 years old, Leeds Cathedral Senior Boys Choir ... See MoreSee Less

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Today at Leeds Cathedral:

9.30 am Mass (Cantor)

11 am Solemn Mass (Boys)
Missa in Honorem SS Cordis, Andriessen
Hodie & This little babe, Britten
Deo gratias, Britten
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I feel happy because it just lets all your emotions out. I like singing. My favourite thing about choir is singing, and I’m really excited for the BBC broadcast. We’ve been rehearsing for it since September, since we came back from the holidays. If you feel nervous about singing imagine it’s only you in the room and you’re singing to yourself. When I joined I was really nervous, but my sister was in the choir (she’s in Seniors now) and she helped me to sing. 10 years old, Bradford Junior Choir ... See MoreSee Less

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An excellent BBC rehearsal this afternoon for Bradford Catholic Youth Choir...tune in tomorrow at 10am! ... See MoreSee Less

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