St Cecilia Fund to benefit young choristers

Donald Hunt (far left), director of music at Christ Church Cathedral, with the Cathedral School choristers. Photo by Ansley Tucker.
By on February 3, 2022

Future cathedral choristers enrolled in Christ Church Cathedral School will benefit from a new bursary fund established by Marilyn Gough and Dr. Barry Gough. The St Cecilia Fund, named for the patron saint of music, was seeded through a $75,000 donation pledged over five years by the Goughs at the Victoria Foundation. The fund is a perpetual endowment providing tuition assistance to families in need who wish to enroll their children in the chorister program at the Cathedral School.

“We value the contribution of children and children’s choirs to Christian worship and we value the discipline of music, and choral singing in particular,” said Marilyn Gough, who noted that music is important not only for a child’s creative and intellectual development, but also in the formation of faith and character.

“We wish to provide opportunity for any child, regardless of means, to participate in a choral program of excellence; specifically, the Christ Church Cathedral chorister program. Our intention is to assist families of choristers who would find it financially challenging to enroll their children in the school.”

The Christ Church Cathedral chorister program was established in 2018 in partnership with the Cathedral School. Twenty-two boys and girls, grade four to grade eight are currently enrolled in this unique music education program. It is the only school-based cathedral chorister program of its kind in Canada. Children are admitted by audition and awarded a bursary toward the reduction of school fees. Choristers are given daily instruction in music theory, history, vocal technique and musicianship in addition to their regular school classes.

“I am incredibly grateful for this leadership gift,” said the program’s founder and Christ Church Cathedral’s director of music, Donald Hunt. “The Goughs’ generosity is an affirmation of the good this program has already brought to the cathedral community, as well as a sign of hope that it might continue to spread the joy of music to those whose financial need is the greatest.”

In 2022, the choristers will perform with the Victoria Symphony and embark on a choir tour to England and Scotland in the summer.

Additional contributions to the St Cecilia Fund for the benefit of the young choristers may be made directly through the Victoria Foundation by contacting Natasha Benn at [email protected].

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