I would like to offer members of the Federation a very warm welcome to Chester for the 2020 Festival. Music is at the very heart of our worship at the cathedral ever since the monks of the Monastery sang their chants under the Benedictine Rule more than 900 years ago. Henry VIII re-established the former Monastery as a cathedral in July 1541 complete with a Choir School. Some musicians associated with the cathedral over the centuries have included the Tudor composer Robert White; Peter Stringer shortly after the Restoration; Charles Hylton Stewart in the 1930s; George Guest was a chorister at Chester and Sub-Organist and pupil of the cathedral organist, Malcolm Boyle, in the 1940s; John Sanders, before his appointment to Gloucester Cathedral in 1967, was organist and was succeeded by Roger Fisher who, through his many recordings and broadcasts, made the glorious organ of Chester Cathedral so famous.
In 1976 the Choir School was closed down and, since then, all the choristers have been recruited from schools all over the city and the surrounding area. In 1996 the Girls’ Choir was founded. Singing eight choral services each week, shared between the boy and girl choristers and the lay clerks, this level of commitment from parents and the choir enables us to maintain consistently high musical standards. The choir rehearses weekly in the magnificent purpose-built Song School, which is built on the site of the old Monk’s Dormitory above the cathedral cloisters. I hope that you will quickly feel part of our rich heritage and enjoy being with us.