The In Tune campaign aims to raise £3 million by 2026, which will fund the refurbishment and renewal of the Cathedral’s famous organ, as well as enabling the Cathedral to expand the musical education that it currently offers to hundreds of young people across the county.
The Gloucester Cathedral organ is one of the most significant instruments of its kind in the world; originally constructed in 1666, it represents the only complete 17th century cathedral organ case in this country and has been associated with countless illustrious musicians in the years since, including the likes of John Stafford-Smith, Sir Herbert Brewer and Herbert Howells. The need for significant work on a Cathedral organ comes roughly every 50 to 70 years, and this need was emphasised by the organ’s failure in the spring of last year. It has since been replaced by an electronic instrument, gifted to the Cathedral by a generous supporter, but this is a temporary solution. Worcestershire-based organ builders, Nicholson & Co Ltd., are now beginning the painstaking work of refurbishing and renewing the historic Gloucester Cathedral organ in time for the 2026 Three Choirs Festival. The Cathedral is calling on music-lovers to support this work, which is vital to ensure the historic organ can continue to inspire and captivate audiences and musicians for generations to come.
Alongside the organ, the Cathedral’s musicians are an intrinsic part of every service, event and celebration. Members of the Cathedral choirs, who range in age from just seven years old right through to adulthood, receive the very best musical education and learn life-skills such as team-work, discipline and self-confidence. They also play a crucial role in the Cathedral’s community outreach work: the annual Teenage Voices Project and Junior Voices Project give hundreds of young people from across the county the unique opportunity to participate in the arts and perform at concerts in this remarkable building. The In Tune campaign seeks to build on and grow this work further still.
The Very Reverend Andrew Zihni, Dean of Gloucester, said:
“Our musical tradition and education have been at the heart of Gloucester Cathedral since its foundation almost a thousand years ago. Yet we were sharply reminded of what the worshipping life and cultural heritage of this place would look like without music during the period of lockdown, when our doors were closed for the first time since the 11th century.
It is therefore our duty and our privilege now to ensure that we build the right foundations for a sustainable future for our music. We ask our supporters to give however they can to this campaign, which will enable future generations to experience the joys of music and singing in Gloucester Cathedral, as well as in the wider community.”
Canon Adrian Partington, Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral, added:
“For centuries, Gloucester Cathedral has been renowned for its music, with close links to some of our country’s greatest composers and organists. Central to the music-making in the Cathedral for the past five-hundred years has been the famous organ. The organ is now silent, having failed in 2022, and needs to be brought back to life.
We have a responsibility to ensure that our young people have the same opportunities as their ancestors to enjoy making and experiencing music in this fantastic building. Please consider supporting this campaign so that generations to come can share what past generations have loved and valued.”
To donate to the In Tune campaign, and to support the refurbishment and renewal of the Cathedral’s historic organ as well as the musical education of generations to come, please visit https://gloucestercathedral.org.uk/support/in-tune-organ-and-music-campaign
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Marketing & Communications Manager at Gloucester Cathedral