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The Cathedral Choir consists of up to 20 trebles (boys and girls) and nine Lay-Clerks, who are all professional singers in and around Manchester. The Choir is directed by the Organist & Master of the Choristers, Christopher Stokes.
The Cathedral Choir rehearses in the quire of the Cathedral on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4.50 pm – 5.20 pm, and on most Saturdays from 2.15 pm – 3.15 pm. Members of the public are welcome to come and observe these rehearsals.
The children attend the internationally renowned Chetham's School of Music, next to the Cathedral, from the age of eight until 13. At that point, many re-enter the school as instrumentalists and remain until they complete their secondary education. This affords them an unparalleled musical education in a city renowned for its musical prowess.
In addition to the Opus Dei of daily choral services in the Cathedral, the Cathedral Choir takes on a number of outside engagements, recordings and broadcasts on national television and radio. It has sung for the BBC Radio 4 ‘Midnight Mass', BBC TV Songs of Praise and has featured in a BBC TV documentary on cathedral choirs. The choir has a very large repertoire covering music from plainsong to the present day.
The choir was invited by the Royal College of Organists to give a concert at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, as part of the finals of its Performer of the Year competition. It has also performed another concert for BBC Radio 3's Choirworks from the hall. In 2000, the choir sang the world premiere in Manchester of Naji Hakim's new setting of the Mass; a work specially commissioned by the Cathedral Chapter for the millennium celebrations.
In 2000 the choir spent a week in Paris, where it gave the French premiere of Hakim's Messe Solennelle at the church of St. Eustache. The Cathedral Choir tours frequently in Europe and the USA.