The Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme is recognised as the UK’s leading choral singing provision, reaching 4,500 children weekly, both during and outside the school day in around 100 choral groups. These include the six choirs of Leeds Cathedral and Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs in Bradford, Keighley, Huddersfield, Wakefield and Pontefract.
We focus on areas of social marginalisation and economic deprivation, striving to offer the best musical opportunities in those communities least likely to encounter them. Our Choral Directors work in 53 state schools, which enthuse about the benefits gained by children in academic and behavioural outcomes. Although our work is closely linked to the Diocese’s programme of music and performance, there is no requirement of faith and we work with young people from all faiths and none; using the discipline of choral music to provide an excellent standard of training and inspiration.
To date, our Programme has inspired over 25,000 young people, aged 5-21. Many progress through our system of after-school choirs rehearsing weekly and performing regularly at Leeds Cathedral and other prestigious venues. Last year, our choirs broadcast eight services on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Our Bradford Choirs perform and record with the Gabrieli Consort and broadcast the Christmas Day service on BBC One in 2019. We maintain a consistent level of good practice and our team are frequently requested to act as advisers to other UK and American institutions on the establishment and ongoing management of music programmes for young people.
Click here for the Schools Singing Programme brochure.
‘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.