Westminster parents fear for Cathedral choirmain
Parents at Westminster School have written to Cardinal Nichols protesting a decision to send kids home from the boarding school on Fridays, no longer keeping them over the weekends. The parents say it will ruin the choir.
These are the changes:
1. WCCS to become a weekly boarding school, with boys going home on Fridays at
4.00 pm (or after the normal school day), and returning on Sunday mornings at
9.00 am to sing the 10.30 am Mass.
2. Boys to sing four Masses in the Cathedral a week: Sunday 10.30 am, Monday 5.30
pm, Tuesday 5.30 pm, Thursday 5.30 pm, as well as Vespers on Sunday at 3.30 pm.
3. Midweek and Sunday visiting to cease and clubs and activities to replace them.
4. Recruitment of choristers to be limited to those families that can commit to weekly boarding.
5. Singing lessons to be scheduled during the week, rather than on Saturday mornings.
6. Morning Song Schools to run from 8.10 am – 8.50 am, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
and Friday, from 8.45 am – 9.45 am, Wednesday, and from 9.30 am – 10.25 am, Sunday.
The protesting parents say:
WCCS has a pre-eminent, foundation duty to support the choristers in their elite choral life. The current stated aims of the School include “to support a world-class choir for Westminster Cathedral”. Mr Hemingway appears to recognise the international reputation of the choir and says that the Governors aim to “strengthen and support it”: see third paragraph on page 2. It seems to us that it would be an unconscionable breach of this foundation duty, the current recognised aims for the school and the Governors’ own professed aims, to make changes which not only fail to support, but will actively damage the world-class standing of the choir.
We believe that these Changes would do just that, striking a critical blow to an important part of our national, international and Catholic heritage and tradition. The potentially devastating effect the Changes may have on some of the current chorister families, if implemented as soon as September 2019 also appears to have been ignored. It
makes it imperative that the Changes and the material employed to support them, be given full scrutiny before the Changes are implemented.