Truro Cathedral has had a choir of boys and men since it was consecrated in 1887. The current team of eighteen boy choristers and twelve gentlemen sings at six services each week during term time as well as at the major services around Christmas and Easter. They also undertake regular concerts, broadcasts, webcasts, foreign tours and CD recordings.
In recent years the choir has performed live on BBC1 as well as making recordings for BBC1’s Songs of Praise programme and a BBC2 documentary The Truth about Carols. There are regular live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and, in 2011, it became the first British cathedral choir to webcast a service. On Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs programme, Howard Goodall chose the choir’s recording of music by French composer Maurice Duruflé as his favourite disc.
Recent CD recordings have attracted praise from critics in the international classical press: “Inspirational singing from one of the top cathedral choirs in the land” (Organists’ Review); “The singing of the choir, set in the wonderful acoustic of Truro Cathedral, is beyond praise” (MusicWeb International); “They have a fresh, unforced sound and encompass with ease the bigger eight-part writing and unexpected harmonic progressions. It’s noticeable that the solo voices include five different boy choristers of equal accomplishment – a tribute to Gray’s expert training.” (Gramophone). In December, the choir’s CD of contemporary music, Truro 125, was made a 2014 Editor’s choice in Gramophone.
In addition to its commitments in Truro, the Choir has performed in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain and the USA.
A great deal of new music has been written specially for Truro Cathedral Choir by some of the UK’s top composers, among them David Bednall, David Briggs, Jonathan Carne, Paul Comeau, Paul Drayton, Graham Fitkin, Howard Goodall, Gabriel Jackson, James MacMillan, Russell Pascoe, Howard Skempton and Philip Stopford.
The eighteen boy choristers are all educated at Polwhele House School. They rehearse every day before school for at least 45 minutes. On most weekdays they come straight from school to the Cathedral where they do their homework before rehearsing for another 40 minutes and singing a service at 5.30 pm. They sing two further services on Sundays.
The boys are joined by twelve gentlemen who sing the alto, tenor and bass parts. Seven are Lay Vicars who are based permanently here in Cornwall. Five are Choral Scholars who come from various parts of the UK and further afield to spend their gap years singing with our renowned choir. There is also an Organ Scholar. All organise their lives, work and holidays around the choir’s busy schedule of commitments.
A separate team of girl Choristers, in the age range 13 to 18, will join Truro Cathedral Choir in September.