DCCA: supporting a distinguished musical tradition

DCCA supports the provision of sacred music by the choirs and organists of Durham Cathedral and further afield. We help ensure that Durham Cathedral's music tradition is maintained at its exceptionally high standard and is developed as part of the Cathedral’s worship and heritage.

Our work helps not only the Cathedral Choir but also the voluntary Consort of Singers and the highly successful Music Outreach Programme. We help fund foreign tours undertaken by the Cathedral Choir and we facilitated the purchase of the Laus Deo organ, as well as the Cathedral's two grand pianos. We also contribute to the maintenance of the Cathedral's outstanding Harrison & Harrison organ.

We fund-raise for both short-term and long-term projects, regularly making significant financial contributions. Fund-raising activities include presenting concerts and recitals, producing CDs that are sold worldwide and publishing acclaimed books including the recent release, 'Wartime Choristers'.

We are a Registered Charity number 1078233 and we welcome and appreciate new members and all who support our work. We keep in touch with members via biennial newsletters.

Chorister School, Durham (photo: keystothepast.info)
Chorister School, Durham (photo: keystothepast.info)

History of music at Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral was a monastic foundation from its beginnings in 995 A.D. and remained such until the reformation. As in all monastic foundations, music for services was a large part of everyday life with the monks in choir singing daily. We do not know exactly when children first began singing with them, though we do know there was a Monastic Choir School in the 15th century. This seems to have been separate from the grammar school founded near the Cathedral later under the aegis of the Cathedral.

The earliest date which can be confirmed for the Choir School is 1416, when the boys were taught within the Cathedral. 1416 is taken as the date for the foundation of The Chorister School, therefore, which was for boys only until 2009, when girls were admitted to form a separate ‘team’, with equal responsibilities to the boys’ ‘team’. For more information visit www.thechoristerschool.com

Come on Choristers, a book about the history of the school, was written by Dr Brian Crosby. Dr Crosby was for very many years both a teacher at the school, and a member of the Cathedral Choir.

There have been organs in Durham Cathedral since at least 1334, there being five of them before the dissolution! A book about the history of the organs of Durham Cathedral, Durham Cathedral Organs can be purchased via this website or from the Cathedral shop.

Over the last millennium music has been a large part of the life of the Cathedral, and Durham has an important collection of music manuscripts from medieval times – 13% of the total which exists in Britain. The handwritten manuscripts were catalogued by Dr Brian Crosby in his 1986 book A Catalogue of Durham Cathedral Music. A record of the Cathedral’s music manuscript collection and much of its early printed music collection can be found on-line via the RISM database - www.rism.org.uk