Former Sheffield Cathedral choir to 'sing in exile'

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Image caption, The choir in the city centre cathedral was made up of about 18 children and 10 adults

Former musicians from Sheffield Cathedral have started a new choir for them to "continue singing in exile".

It previously said it needed "significant change" in its music department and choir, to better serve its "mixed urban community".

The newly formed group, Steel City Choristers, said it was hopeful the choir would return to the cathedral and has launched an online campaign.

"It was deeply frustrating that the Dean and Chapter of Sheffield Cathedral refused to meet with us and provide a clear explanation for their decision to close the choir," the campaigners said.

"We are still yet to hear a convincing argument why the choir had to be closed."

The cathedral said: "The dean and chapter of Sheffield Cathedral are aware that some members of the former cathedral choir are now gathering using a new name and they wish them well."

There were plans for a "complete restructuring of all the music and worship" including a cathedral choir "singing a full range of traditional Anglican choral music", it said.

This would be "well under way by mid-2021", it added.

More than 8,000 signatures have been collected on a petition calling for the cathedral to reconsider its decision to close the choir.

And an online appeal has been started to help recruit staff and singers for the new group and fund outreach activity around the city.

The choir was made up of about 18 children and 10 adults, who performed up to eight times each week at the city centre cathedral.

Joshua Stephens, former director of music at Sheffield Cathedral and a founder of the new choir, said: "Music has the power to change lives, and this is our vocation as a choir."

The Steel City Choristers are preparing for performances elsewhere in the city, he said.

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