Music has been part of the daily worship in Lichfield Cathedral from very early times and the present Choral Foundation can be traced back at least as far as 1315. Today, the choir consists of eighteen boy choristers, nine Lay Vicars Choral, and three Choral Scholars. The choir is trained and directed by the Organist and Master of the Choristers aided by the Assistant Organists.
The primary purpose of the choir is to lead the music for the opus dei, the daily worship in the Cathedral. During school term time, the choir usually sings seven services each week: Choral Evensong each day except Wednesday, which is the Choir's one day off, and the Eucharist on Sunday mornings. The Choir also gives occasional concerts and recitals, makes regular broadcasts (both on television and radio) and commercial recordings.
The Choir's repertoire embraces the whole span of church music, from Gregorian Chant to the present day, and includes some anthems and settings written specifically for it.
This web site contains information about every aspect of the Choir, and is a work in progress reflecting the continuous evolution and development of the Choral Foundation. There are details about the organ and its history, and records of many aspects of the choir's seven century life. However, the site is in no way endorsed by the Cathedral and, at the Dean and Chapter's request, its content must be regarded as unofficial.
Throughout the centuries, people have given and continue to give to support the Cathedral's choral foundation. On St Chad's Day every year, the Cathedral's benefactors are commemorated, and the following is a chronologically ordered list of the people who are recorded as having contributed to different aspects of the foundation:
- Bishop Walter de Langton gave the Vicars' Close to the Vicars in 1315
- Canon Thomas de Clopton was a benefactor of the Vicars, 1328
- Nicholas de Allerwas, the Sacrist, was a benefactor of the Vicars, 1360
- Canon Hugh de Hopwas was a benefactor of the Vicars, 1372
- Bishop Richard le Scrope was a benefactor of the Vicars, 1392
- Prebendary John de Moreton was a benefactor of the vicars, 1381-1398
- Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham, made large bequests to the Dean and Chapter and the Vicars in 1406
- Canon Thomas Chesterfield made contributions to the Vicars' Building Fund, 1425-1452
- Dean Thomas Heywood made many benefactions from 1457-1492 including an organ and gifts to the Vicars
- Canon Thomas Milley gave liberally to the Vicars' Common Fund, 1488-1505
- Bishop Geoffrey Blythe was the joint builder of the Choristers' House, 13 The Close, 1503-1533
- Dean James Denton was the joint builder of the Choristers' House, increased the number of choristers, and provided the water supply for the Vicars, 1522-1532
- Josiah Spode gave the organ in 1861
- In the name of Robert Douglas did his family and friends give generously to the Nave extension of the organ in 1999
- In the name of Wilfred Haddock did he widow give generously to the Nave extension of the organ in 1999
- In the name of Percy Young did his friends endow a choristership in 2000
- Stanley Clarke was leader and generous benefactor of the Music Campaign, 2004
- John and Kit Brown bequeathed the endowment of a choristership in 2005
- Christopher Adams gave a generous bequest to the Music Campaign in 2005
- Mark and Elaine Farrant endowed a Choral Scholarship in 1999
- Evershed's Solicitors endowed a Choral Scholarship in 1999
- The Owen Family Trust endowed a Choral Scholarship in 2001