Businesses go for a song

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Two worlds collided last week, when a group of Cornish business leaders took a peep behind the scenes, exploring the daily rigours of chorister life.

Invited by the Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Edward Bolitho, the leaders came from a wide range of sectors, from stockbroking to estate agency, hospitality to construction, united in their curiosity to discover what it takes to train the 34 choristers in Truro Cathedral’s world-class choir.

The event, conceived as a fully-immersive experience by director of music Christopher Gray and charity campaigner, Esmé Page, was set up with the support of Deputy Lieutenants Kate Holborow and Cornwall Chamber chief executive Kim Conchie.

It was the first event of its kind, aimed not only at winning advocates in the business world but also inviting crucial financial support for the intensive five-year training programme provided to each of the 34 choristers. It opens to businesses the choir’s already successful ‘Sponsor a Chorister’ programme, designed to protect the choir’s future and secure, long-term, Truro Cathedral’s core commitment to a means-blind selection of choristers.

The visit offered opportunities for business leaders to draw parallels between their different worlds and the qualities and values which underpin their own success. The tour began with a ‘fly on the wall’ experience, watching the choristers rehearse in their private space, the atmospheric vaulted crypt, below the cathedral. Guests witnessed first-hand the precision, focus and teamwork, which characterises the everyday routine of the children, enabling them to sing over 250 pieces every year, performing daily with the 12 professional adult singers of the choir, be that in services, concerts, on national radio and TV, for CD recordings or outreach projects such as Sing2G7.

Leaving the crypt, the leaders climbed the 102 steps into the upper structures of the cathedral, not open to the public, peering down from the tower to the choir, 30 metres below. After a recital of Handel’s majestic ‘Zadok the Priest,’ the group found themselves stepping from observer to participant. Coached by director of music, Christopher Gray, they joined in with the ‘Choristers’ Cornish Blessing’, released last month to welcome Archbishop Welby.

Summing up, Conchie, said: “What more inspiring way to ‘raise your teams’ and your clients’ game? I wish I’d brought all my colleagues. That wouldn’t have been time out of the office, it would have been very productive time and their input tomorrow morning would have been uplifted by this.”

Besides acknowledgement packages, higher level business sponsors will have the option of tailored corporate hospitality events designed to give their stakeholders inspirational experiences, such as those enjoyed by the leaders at this event. Truro Cathedral Choir is looking for expressions of interest from a select group of like-minded business sponsors with a commitment to investing in the next generation. Those interested should contact the director of music: christophergray@trurocathedral.org.uk

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