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Denis O'Connor

How many hours?

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How many hours per week are members of residential choir schools allowed to sing ? An article in a popular

satirical magazine suggested that plans for the expansion of facilities at Westminster cathedral choir school would impact on the number of hours the boys could sing each week. This presumably would include rehearsal time.

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I’d be surprised if there were any limit set by national legislation. The rules for children performing under Local Authority licence in eg theatres or film or television are very strict but I’m not aware that any such restrictions apply to worship.

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Without knowing what the “satirical magazine” is suggesting, it’s not immediately obvious how expansion of facilities would inversely reduce singing and rehearsal times.  Is this some ‘tongue-in-cheek’ sort of joke? 

Barry Williams, I am sure, would know the answer to your serious question.  But such legislation as exists is aimed at (1) protecting children’s education and (2) their not participating in undesirable or hazardous ‘work’.  I would not have thought that these are problems for cathedral choristers.

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The original article appeared in Private Eye. There was a suggestion that expansion of the choir school was an empire- building exercise. I was pleased to see the response from members to my post. Church musicians have to fight their corner (usually) to get what is needed for the best  musical standards, be it money for organ repairs or resisting attempts to introducing poor quality music. If, as the Daily Telegraph suggested,  changes at the Cathedral would possibly have very serious effects on the standard of music because the suggested alterations might seem very difficult to manage without affecting rehearsal times etc.

 

 

 

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