Hereford Cathedral Voluntary Choir was founded in its present form in 2000, primarily to sing services at the cathedral on some occasions during the year when the cathedral choir is not available.

As well as covering a number of Sundays each year, the choir has sung at weddings, given concerts around the county and recorded for local radio, including BBC Hereford and Worcester’s broadcast Christmas services in 2005.

You can hear a selection of hymns from the choir here. These hymns have been selected to share with our community during the difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2007 the choir undertook its first overseas tour to Nuremberg, Germany, and returned there in 2009, singing at a morning service at St Sebald’s Church in the city centre, as well as at concerts both there and in the nearby university town of Erlangen. The 2013 visit saw the choir sing in Nuremberg city centre once again, as well as at Treuchtlingen and Langwasser.

October 2015 saw the choir’s fourth visit to the area, when it gave a highly-acclaimed concert in the Matthäuskirche in Heroldsberg on the 23rd and sang at two services the following day. At the first of these, in Nuremberg’s historic Lorenzkirche, the choir sang Anthony Piccolo’s Canterbury Mass and other 20th-century music. The service in the evening took place at the Christuskirche in Neunkirchen-am-Brand and took the form of an English-language Choral Evensong, with Responses by Ayleward, Psalm 22 to Anglican chant, Canticles by Raymond Warren (the Bristol Service) and Sir William Harris’s Bring us, O Lord as the anthem. German-language hymns were sung by the choir and the 50-strong congregation (seated, as is normal practice), and Charles Maxtone-Smith (organ scholar) framed the service with a performance of J S Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544.

Rehearsal time is generally limited to just one or two practices before each public event, so a high standard of musicianship is required from the 25–30 members. Many of the choir’s student members have gone on to take up choral scholarships at universities across the country: we are always pleased to welcome them back to sing with the choir again during their university holidays.

The choir aims to complement, rather than duplicate, the cathedral choir’s repertoire, and has given world premiere performances of several works by living composers as well as singing some of the great choral works from the wealth of church music written in earlier centuries. The choir commissioned and gave the first performance of Raymond Warren’s Spiritus Domini (in Nuremberg in 2007) and Patrick Dunachie’s The Prophecy of Joel, which was premiered at the Three Choirs Festival in 2009. Most recently it gave the world premiere of Francis Pott’s The Love of God is in Eternity at the 2012 Three Choirs Festival. Members of the choir have taken part in both the RSCM diocesan choirs festival held in the cathedral each autumn, and also in the meetings of the Association of Cathedral Voluntary Choirs held in cathedrals across the country.

Membership of the choir is by informal audition, and enquiries are always welcome. Further information may be obtained from the director, Peter Dyke, whose contact details are:

1A Cathedral Close
01432 374272