New Post - Choral Director (Diocese of Leeds)

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New Post - Choral Director (Diocese of Leeds)

Post by Chris » Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:15 am

Following on from the thread on employment of catholic musicians, this may be of interest:

The Diocese of Leeds has an innovative approach to liturgical music centred around its young people. The music programme currently involves over 30 young people's choirs singing a wide variety of music, both liturgical, sacred and secular. We wish to continue to develop this outreach work from the Cathedral to more schools in the Diocese. In addition, the new Choral Director will take responsibility for music in a large Catholic parish in Huddersfield, where they will found a new boys' choir to lead Sunday morning Mass and other liturgies.

Further information about music in the Diocese of Leeds can be found at: ... _music.php




To deliver a singing curriculum to children as part of a well established cathedral outreach program, and to direct a new boys choir

from September 2008, or as soon as possible thereafter

circa 20k
plus full pension package

An application pack is available from:

Benjamin Saunders
Director of Music
Cathedral House
Great George Street
Leeds LS2 8BE
Tel. 0113 244 8634


Closing date: 8th May 2008

Background to the singing programme
The Diocese of Leeds has one of the largest and fastest growing programmes of choral music for young people in the United Kingdom. At present it includes two boys’, two girls’ and a professional adult choir with eighteen choral scholars. Daily services are sung in the Cathedral. The choirs broadcast nationally with the BBC around five times each year and have produced several commercial CD recordings. Concerts are also held every Thursday lunchtime in the Cathedral.

Singing in Schools
The diocese covers a large geographical area including Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Harrogate, Halifax and Ripon. The choral programme in the diocese is on a large scale because the Cathedral Director of Music also takes responsibility for music in Catholic schools throughout the diocese. Centres of excellence in singing are therefore situated not only in the Cathedral in Leeds, but also in schools and churches throughout the Diocese.

2003 - First stage of development
The first stage of the schools singing programme involved Bradford and Keighley, which have enjoyed special musical provision since 2003. A consortium of high schools in this area entered in a funding partnership with the diocese to offer an exceptional level of choral provision to their students. The Assistant Director of Music carries delegated responsibility for the delivery of this programme.

The current holder of this post, Christopher McElroy, has led the individual school choirs to several competition successes over the past eighteen months, including the title of ‘Yorkshire Schools’ Choir of the Year’ 2006 - 2007. The programme benefits from timetabled rehearsal slots for the choirs during the normal school day. In essence, this means that the children can develop beyond the level of many school choirs, because they rehearse in school time rather than being dependent on parental commitment for after-school rehearsals.

2006 - Second stage of development
In September 2006, singing provision in Bradford was expanded to cover all of the primary schools. The post of Choral Director (Bradford) was established, allowing all Catholic school children in Bradford from the age of 6-18 to benefit from expert choral leadership. In January 2008, 400 children from Bradford Catholic schools filled Leeds Cathedral for a broadcast of ‘Songs of Praise’ on BBC 1 TV.

In addition to the school choirs, the Bradford Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs have been formed, by audition, from the Catholic schools. These choirs rehearse weekly after school, and have enjoyed several high profile engagements including performances with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, live broadcasts on BBC Radio 4, and working with conductors such as John Rutter and Sir David Willcocks. This year the Bradford Girls’ Choir will take part in the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales – appearing for the first time on an international stage. The Bradford Boys’ Choir is choir in residence at St Joseph’s Church in Bradford, singing a repertoire of classical sacred music at two liturgies each month.

The repertoire of the choirs is an even mixture of secular and sacred. Concerts and competitions are an important part of the year, as is the liturgical function, singing in churches and at Leeds Cathedral. The success of this diocesan model of young peoples singing has attracted considerable media interest, including recent articles in Cathedral Music, The Tablet, Choir and Organ and Church Music Quarterly and discussions on BBC Radio 3 The Choir programme.
2008 - Third stage of development


Post Title: Choral Director

Time commitment: Full time

Date of commencement: 1 September 2008 or as soon as possible thereafter

Purpose of post: To develop music within the Diocese of Leeds, with special reference to Huddersfield/Keighley Schools and St Patrick’s Church, Huddersfield

To whom responsible: The Assistant Diocesan Director of Music in the first instance (line manager), with the support of the Director of Music and a Management Committee

Employer: The Diocese of Leeds Trustees

Probationary Period: Six months

Remuneration: In the region of £20k. Mileage allowance in fixed profit car scheme. Contributory pension scheme available after six months of employment

Resources available: Music Department administrator; part-time assistant cathedral organist; eighteen choral scholarships; organ scholarship; choral conducting scholarship; composition scholarship; two parental choir support groups; two girls’ choirs; two boys’ choirs and one mixed voice professional adult choir

In service training: Encouraged, offered and arranged as appropriate

Faith commitment: Sensitive to the Christian ethos and worship of the Diocese. Applications are welcome from non-Catholics.

Conditions: Appointment to, and continuation in this post is conditional upon the satisfactory outcome of initial and periodic checks with the relevant statutory bodies to comply with child protection procedures.

This post is designed primarily to continue the further development of the Diocesan schools singing programme. The post holder will take over the established singing programme in primary and secondary schools in Huddersfield and Keighley. In addition, the post holder will be Director of Music at the main church (St Patrick’s) in Huddersfield, directing a new boys’/girls’ choir, which will lead liturgies on Sundays. Three Huddersfield primary and one secondary school will act as choir schools for this well resourced development. These schools are already achieving outstanding results: for example, the secondary school (All Saints’) were awarded first prize in the in the OPAL ‘Magic of Music’ school choir competition at the Royal Albert Hall in London. They will travel to Austria to compete in the World Choir Olympics this summer, all expenses paid by the OPAL foundation.

The new post holder will form part of a dynamic team which includes the Director of Music, Assistant Director of Music and Choral Director (Bradford). In addition to work in the schools, there are opportunities to work in other areas, dependent on the skills of the post holder. For example, an organist would be responsible for the installation of a new organ at St Patrick’s Huddersfield and could accompany some Cathedral liturgies; a singer may sing in the adult choir.

The post is funded as a partnership between the Diocese of Leeds, schools in Huddersfield and Keighley and the DCSF.

The Choral Director position is suitable for an ambitious and creative musician with exceptional gifts in working with young voices. Previous leadership experience is useful, but not as essential as a proven ability in working with children’s voices to a high level. Our choirs are well resourced, high achieving and over-subscribed by applicants – the time is ripe for growth.


Qualities required:

• An outstanding trainer of young voices, with the ability to motivate and inspire singers
• The ambition and energy to achieve the highest possible standards of performance and recognition
• Excellent keyboard skills, either on the organ or piano
• The ability to develop mature and harmonious working relationships
• An excellent communicator, skilled in consultation
• A willingness to take initiative and think strategically
• Ability to prioritise and manage time efficiently

Qualifications: A thorough education at university, conservatory or equivalent in any subject.


• The successful candidate will have had leadership experience as a choir trainer within an educational, secular or cathedral/church type institution
• Proven success in working with and relating to young singers
• Knowledge of child protection issues
• An understanding of the use of the media in promoting musical performances – computer skills advantageous
• A understanding of the importance of teamwork in creative leadership roles

The successful candidate will also need a full UK driving licence to travel between schools and the cathedral.


Applicants should return the completed application form together with a covering letter indicating their interest in the position. Any supporting materials demonstrating relevant previous experience may be included in the application. These should be sent to:

Benjamin Saunders
Director of Music
Cathedral House
Leeds LS2 8BE

Tel. 0113 244 8634

Informal discussions or visits can be made by contacting the Director of Music.

Closing date: Thursday 8th May, Short listing: Friday 9th May
Interviews: Tuesday 20th – Wednesday 21st May 2008.

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