Terribly galling: I missed the carol service given by Hereford Cathedral Choir at the Guard’s Chapel. I blame my mobile electronic device: diary entries keep appearing on entirely the wrong date. I’ll have to wait until my next visit to Hereford to hear them again.

They sing up to eight full choral services a week, and for the trebles, Christmas is a busy time for their parents as well as them: the choir school is only for day boys, so a lot of chauffeuring must be in order. In London, the Guards’ Chapel has an historic connection with the cathedral, through Hereford’s long association with the SAS.

No other country in the world has Britain’s tradition of choral liturgy, sung by boys from choir schools. It is a survival of the monasteries, which, because of the English pragmatism of the Reformation, managed to survive-Elizabeth I loved her Chapel Royal. Nobody has told the EU about the hours that the choristers have to put in, on top of their schoolwork. Still, they seem to enjoy it, and a quid pro quo is that they receive an excellent subsidised education. Each year, the cathedral has to find £120,000 just for the fees. The service in London will have helped. Sir Roy Strong served as an acolyte. I wish I’d been there.

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  • Birmingham Architect

    Dear Clive,
    It was a shame you were unable to make the event. My wife was born in Hereford and we annually attend 3 choir events held by the Hereford Cathedral Choir at the Guard’s Chapel.

    We as a country have a fantastic tradition of ‘choral liturgy’ which can only be kept alive if we all show our support and attend local Cathedrals and encourage our own children to participate. My eldest now studies Music at Imperial and was for many years head Choir Boys at Birmingham Cathedral.