* English boys choir costumes : individual church choirs

English Boy Choir Costumes: Individual Church Choirs

Figure 1.--Here we see an unidentified Englishg church choir. It was probably an Anglican Church of England Choir. You can tell by the entry way that it was not a very important or large church. The photograph is undated, but would guess was taken in the 1890s. At the the time churches played a much greater role in national life than is the case today.

Most of England's important boy and now girl choirs are the famous cathedral choirs. Quite a number of churches, however, organized choirs as well which until the 21st century were mostly boy choirs. These choirs were of varying quality because few churches had the resources to support theior choirs to the same degree of the better funded cathedrals. Here the choirs ofren depened on the choir master. Here the key abilities were first his musical competence and second the aboility to work with boys. As far as we know, chioir nasters until arond the 21st century were all men, which was the generral pattern in the world of classical music. Second, a choir master needed the ability to attract choristers and motivate them for the rather demanding effort of developoing the skills needed for a degree of excellence compoaravle to the cathedral choirs. And at churches, he needed vto do all that without the resources available at the great cathedrals. The pattern at these choirs was a very limited program of parctice and instruction, in contrast to the choral trining effort at the cathedrals. Many churches had choirs which added to religious services, but understandably fell far short of the excellence of the cathedral choirs. As a result, we know very little about these small church choirs. Another issue was the basicall de-Chritinization of Western Europe, including Britain, which began after World War II. Today Europe is full of magnificent churches which are basically empty. Given that dynamic, building a high quality church choir was virtually impossible. We notice St. Mark's Church in Dalstonm -- the London East End, in the Borough of Hackney. They tried to build a Cathedral-quality choir which operated during the 196os-80s.


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Created: 4:28 PM 3/19/2020
Last updated: 4:29 PM 3/19/2020