Bad faith: A third English cathedral loses its music director

Bad faith: A third English cathedral loses its music director


norman lebrecht

August 14, 2020

The sorry story so far:

Sheffield Cathedral abolishes its choir.

The Director of Music quits at Ripon Cathedral.

Now we understand that the Director of Music, Tom Moore, has resigned at Wakefield Cathedral, in Yorkshire, after 18 years in the post. No reason given, no regrets expressed. The website has been updated with an ‘acting director of music.’

The angels weep.

UPDATE: We have the resignation letter. It sounds like they made his life hell:

Dear Colleagues

After 18 years serving the cathedral and community of Wakefield, I have decided to resign from my role as Director of Music at the cathedral. This has been a very difficult decision to take, and I am very sad to leave my post. The reasons for my leaving are personal. 

I would have to say that my time at Wakefield has been extremely rewarding, particularly since becoming Director of Music in 2010. It has been a joy to see so many former choristers, choral scholars, organ scholars and my former assistant organists go on to achieve great things, and to know that I have played a part in their formative years or early years of their careers. I have also enjoyed the daily challenge of providing high quality music with very limited resources, and would forewarn any new appointment that they will need a steely resolve in order to succeed in Wakefield!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues for their support through the COA, and to particularly single out Christopher Gower and Jonathan Bielby for thanks. These two esteemed colleagues guided me during my years as an assistant organist, at Peterborough and at Wakefield Cathedrals, and I owe them both a debt of gratitude. 

I hope to keep in touch with many of you in the future, and wish you all the very best.


Tom Moore


  • Iain Simcock says:

    He doesn’t say that they made his life hell. He makes one comment about very limited ressources. This would seem to be standard all but a few places these days.

  • Emil says:

    Where exactly do you read “made his life hell”? He says absolutely nothing of the sort, on the contrary.
    “my time at Wakefield has been extremely rewarding”…

    As for the comment on the lack of resources, show me one cathedral organist in the UK who does not “need a steely resolve to succeed”. To infer that he blames the chapter or anyone is a major stretch.

    • Maria says:

      Yes, there are always two sides to this story and nothing to do with Sheffield. I worked with Tom Moore once. Time to move on if there for as long as 18 years. The Dean is very pro classical music. I live in the area and diocese. Whipping up what isn’t there to make a fake story or just Cathedral-bash on little knowledge doesn’t help anyone.

  • Graham says:

    As a former lay clerk at Wakefield, I was surprised and shocked to learn of Tom’s unexpected resignation, via the Old Choristers’ Association. I have not been able to find out precisely why he resigned but he has displayed commendable loyalty in not being critical of anyone else or the organisation itself. During his time as assistant and MD at Wakefield, I found him to be friendly, conscientious and a superb musician. He was also very helpful outside the remit of his job, always willing to assist others – eg pre-recording the music for our son’s wedding held ‘down South’.
    After so long, most people would be ready for a change, so let us just thank him for his contribution to the worship and musical life at Wakefield rather than making inferences which may well be false.
    Best wishes for your future Tom !