The Parish Church of All Saints became the Cathedral for the new Diocese of Wakefield in 1888, and is now one of three cathedrals forming the Diocese of Leeds. Wakefield Cathedral has developed a splendid tradition of liturgy and music which attracts congregations from a wide area. Wakefield has long had a traditional choir of men and boys.
Today the Cathedral Choir consists of boys, girls and lay clerks. Most of the boys are educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and receive choral scholarships. They are aged from 8 to 13. Girl choristers were introduced in 1992, shortly after their introduction at Salisbury Cathedral. Aged from 8 to 18 they are recruited from various schools. The lay clerks in some cases travel vast distances in their devotion to the musical worship and liturgy for which the Cathedral is famed.
The Choir sings choral evensong on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and occasionally Friday. Sunday sung services are the Parish Eucharist, Solemn Eucharist and Evensong. Usually the boys and girls sing separately, either by themselves or with the men. On very special occasions we can amalgamate all our resources. The boys, girls and men undertake a full programme of services, concerts, recordings and TV appearances. Despite the various extra activities outlined below, which enable the Cathedral's ministry and worship to be spread more widely, the Choir's primary work remains, and will always remain, the offering of the highest standards of music in the regular services of the Cathedral.
In the 1970s the Cathedral Choir took an active part in the West Riding Cathedrals Festival (together with the choirs of Bradford and Sheffield Cathedrals). Since 1981 it has teamed up with the choirs of Ripon Cathedral and Leeds Parish Church in the Yorkshire Three Choirs Festival. Following the creation of the Diocese of Leeds, the three cathedrals (Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield) of the diocese formed the Yorkshire Cathedrals Choirs Festival. The first Yorkshire Girls' Choirs Festival took place at Wakefield in 1998 (girls and men from York Minster, Ripon, Sheffield and Wakefield Cathedrals, and Leeds Parish Church).
National tours started in 1975 with a visit to Wells Cathedral; following this there have been tours to Winchester, Salisbury, Chichester, Portsmouth, Arundel, and St. Paul's Cathedral. Overseas tours started in 1979. The choir have visited Germany, France, America (Boston through New York and Baltimore to Washington), Scotland, Salzburg, Rome, Tuscany, the Isle of Man, and Belgium. The girls' first overseas tour with the men was to Sweden in 2001, followed by tours to Chichester, the Rhineland, Exeter Cathedral and New York City, including Sunday services at the church of St Thomas Fifth Avenue, 'home' of former Wakefield Chorister and Assistant Organist, John Scott, who died in 2015. In 2016 the first tour including boys, girls and men took place. This tour to one of our partner diocese in Skara, Sweden involved a number of services and concerts in Skara Cathedral and in churches in the surrounding area. Choral Evensong was particularly appreciated and on several occasions had standing room only.
Joining The Choir
There are currently vacancies in Wakefield Cathedral Choir for Boy and Girl Choristers. Please see our page on being a chorister for more information (Coming Soon).
We also have vacancies for lay clerks. If you would like to hear more in general about joining the choir as an adult lay clerk, please contact James Bowstead on 01924 373923 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org