Fundraising appeal to save Chapel Royal's musical heritage

A fundraising appeal has been launched to secure the rich musical heritage of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace for generations to come.

The newly established Choral Foundation hopes to raise £1.5 million through the appeal.

Until now, the Chapel Royal Choir has been largely self-funded through donations from the congregation but growing expenses are making it difficult to sustain.

Funds raised will cover the cost of musical training for the choir boys and new scholarships with local schools for boys who would not otherwise be able to enter the choir and attend the associate schools.

Part of the appeal will fund the restoration of the historic organ and the professional gentleman singers so that they can practise and perform regularly with the Chapel Royal Choir.

Securing the choir's financial future will enable it to widen its outreach at the local and national level by accepting more concert offers and recording opportunities, the Choral Foundation said.

From the 16th century, renowned composers like William Byrd, Thomas Tallis and Henry Purcell performed their music for the nation's monarchs. Their compositions inspired the music of cathedrals, chapels and churches around the country and, not surprisingly, the Chapel Royal came to be known as “the cradle of English church music”.

The Bishop of London and Patron of the Choral Foundation, Dr Richard Chartres, said it was important to keep the choir and the heritage of English church music alive.

“The Choir of The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, has been enriching the cultural and spiritual life of England for nearly five hundred years," he said.

"As Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre are to literature, the composers of the Chapel Royal and The Chapel Royal Choir are to music.

"Looking back on the centuries of fine music emanating from the Chapel Royal, we recognise the choir’s enormous contribution to the heritage of English music.

“The value of the choir is unquestionable – we acknowledge the music of
The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace as a national treasure and we
celebrate its place among ‘the best of British’.”

In addition to raising the much needed funds, the Choral Foundation hopes the appeal will raise awareness of the Chapel Royal as a place of worship in the Church of England.

Canon Denis Mulliner, chaplain of the Chapel Royal, stated: “The public are most welcome to attend the services on Sunday and holy days. Worshippers do not pay the Palace entrance fee.

"The Chapel Royal is a hidden treasure, a living, vibrant church with an outstanding choir at the centre of an historic royal palace.

"We would like to share this with as many visitors as possible and we warmly welcome those who may wish to join our congregation."

To support the Choral Foundation, visit www.chapelroyal.org

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