Young voices soar though Christmas at Wakefield Cathedral

Wakefield Cathedral’s new youth choir has soared through its first Advent and Christmas and taken part in some 30 service.

The youngest cohort of singers form Byrd Song, a new generation of choristers aged six to eight, and Ed Jones, the cathedral’s director of music said how singing is the “most natural way to make music”.

“It doesn’t matter if you come from rich or poor, or if you go to church or not, music is for everybody,” he said.

“There are few children I’ve met, at this age, that don’t like to sing. I often wonder what makes them lose that love – we need to catch that moment.”

Byrd Song was first launched in September, the third choir at Wakefield alongside its main choir and another for older people.

 “They have such energy,” Ed added. “Afterwards they say, ‘that was the best’. They’ll come back in January, raring to do it again.

“After all the turmoil of the past 20 months, one thing we have been able do is get together and sing. To be in the same room, singing with other people, is quite an exceptional feeling.”

Commitment to be a chorister can be quite taxing, with rehearsals and concerts up to two or three times a week.

Byrd Song is about giving younger children a chance just to “test the waters”, said Ed, without auditions or pressure, but to instil an early love of cathedral music.

One of the first to join Byrd Song was Oliver Powell, aged seven, whose older brother, Rhys, 11, is in the main cathedral choir and whose mother, Emma, sang in a church choir herself as a girl.

Oliver, a pupil at Badsworth Junior and Infants School in Pontefract, said: “I was a bit nervous at the start, but I really enjoy it now.

“I’m still getting used to wearing my robe, but I just really like to sing and have made some new friends already.”


A version of this article first appeared in the Yorkshire Post and the images are courtesy of Tatania Hepplewhite.

Scroll to Top