The Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme is recognised as the UK’s leading choral education programme, striving to make outstanding singing tuition, music education and performance opportunities accessible to children and young people in communities which are least likely to encounter them. The programme reaches over 6,000 children each week, both during and outside the school day in over 150 choral groups, including boys’ and girls’ choirs in Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Keighley, Pontefract, Ripon and Wakefield, together with the six choirs of Leeds Cathedral.

We focus on areas of social marginalisation and economic deprivation, striving to offer the highest-quality musical opportunities in those communities which are least likely to encounter them. Our Choral Directors work in 70 state schools, enthusing over the benefits gained to children in academic and behavioural outcomes. Whilst our work is closely linked to the Diocese’s programme of evangelisation, there is no requirement of faith and we work with young people from all faiths and none. Choral music is able to provide an excellent standard of musical training and inspiration that brings people together.

To date, our Programme has inspired over 35,000 young people between aged 5–21. Many progress through our system of after-school choirs rehearsing weekly and singing regularly at Leeds Cathedral and other prestigious venues. Last year, our choirs broadcast three liturgies on BBC Radio 3 and 4, performed on Songs of Praise on BBC One, and took part in the Gabrieli Consort’s Roar project at Ely Cathedral. Our team frequently advises other UK and American institutions on the establishment and ongoing management of sustainable music programmes for young people, and since 2021, has led the National Schools Singing Programme.

‘I joined Bradford Youth Choir at 9 years old.  During my 7 years as a choir member I had the opportunity to travel to Germany, take part in many competitions and make life long friends and memories.  BYC inspired me and nurtured me as a musician and led me to Leeds College of Music where I am currently studying for a degree.’ 

Schools Singing Programme Alumni

I’ve been here at the cathedral for the last seven and half years, one of the Choral Directors came into my primary school and asked if I would like to join the Children’s Choir and I’ve been here ever since. Singing in the Cathedral Choirs has definitely made me more confident, I’ve built the confidence to sing in front of other people and I think that translates across because now I feel a lot more comfortable to talk in front of other people as well…I’ve made some great friends here and I’d love to become a scholar in the adult choir.’

Girls’ Choir Member, 15 years old. 

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6 days ago

Diocese of Leeds Music
The choristers are packing their bags and getting ready to don the famous ROAR t-shirts once more for Gabrieli ROAR 2024!We are within touching distance of our £3000 fundraising target, all of which helps us support young choristers who might not otherwise be able to access this world-class opportunity.If you'd like to be part of these talented youngsters' stories you can donate ... See MoreSee Less
Members of our Bradford and Huddersfield choirs have returned from a very busy weekend touring Norfolk. On Saturday, they sang for the Pilgrims' Mass at the Walsingham Shrine and on Sunday they joined with the choir of St John's Cathedral, Norwich, where they sang Mass for the 40th anniversary of Bishop Peter Collins' ordination. On the way to Norfolk they explored the treetops in Sherwood Forest, and then spent time together in the grounds of Langley School, our venue for the weekend. Both choirs have worked incredibly hard towards this tour, they sounded amazing, even when they sang Franck's Panis Angelicus for the owners of a fish and chip shop in Sheringham! ... See MoreSee Less
We can't wait for the absolute wall of sound our choristers and their peers will create singing Verdi's monumental Requiem in Ely Cathedral next week at the Gabrieli Roar concert! To keep this opportunity affordable to all we have subsidised our choristers' places on the course, please consider making a donation to help us support these talented young musicians.Donate ... See MoreSee Less