Choristers enjoy a royal Zoom meeting

29 March 2021
Choristers at Norwich Cathedral enjoyed some royal assistance with the naming of a new society to support music at the Cathedral. His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex joined them online on a Zoom call and helped to pick the name for the new society from a shortlist of ideas from the young singers.
Norwich Cathedral Zoom meeting with HRH The Earl of Wessex

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, and the Cathedral’s Master of Music, Ashley Grote, also took part in the virtual meeting on Thursday 25 March and, after much deliberation, the new society was named The Statham Society, a tribute to Heathcote Dicken Statham who was the Cathedral’s organist for nearly 40 years from 1928 until 1966.

The Earl also heard from some of the young singers about their experiences of being choristers during the pandemic and he listened to a recording of the song Sing Forever, a project initiated by Norwich Cathedral in summer 2020 which brought together more than 250 choristers from across the country in a virtual performance.

Norwich Cathedral Zoom meeting with HRH The Earl of Wessex (3)
His Royal Highness told the choristers: “Keep up the great music and the great singing and I can’t wait until another opportunity to hear you all actually singing back in the Cathedral for real once again in person.”

The Earl of Wessex, who is patron of the Cathedral’s Music Appeal, said it was “an absolute pleasure” to be involved in helping to ensure the success of the musical life of the Cathedral long into the future.

The newly-named Statham Society aims to bring together all who enjoy and support the music at Norwich Cathedral and to raise funds for special performances, recordings and music education projects as well as subsidising choir tours for those in financial need.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said: “We are really grateful to The Earl of Wessex for his support of music at Norwich Cathedral and for giving up his time to hear about the new society and the ideas the choristers came up with for its name.
“We hope The Statham Society will encourage an even wider number of people to be involved in the Cathedral’s music and that going forward the society will help with opportunities such as organising tours abroad and putting on special concerts and other activities.”

Ashley Grote, the Cathedral’s Master of Music, said: “It has been a very difficult year for the boys and girls in our choir, who have been unable to meet to sing together for large periods of time because of the pandemic. Whilst we have kept things going online as best we can, it is simply not the same as making music together in person. The opportunity to talk to His Royal Highness about their experiences was a tremendous privilege for them all and a great boost to morale as we cautiously resume our singing together after such a long time apart. We are very grateful for all the interest and support that The Earl of Wessex has shown for our music in recent years”.

Further details about how people can support the Statham Society will be announced in due course.