Exeter Cathedral Choral Fesstival 1909

July 1909 - Choral Festival, Exeter Cathedral

The parish choirs of Devon and the cathedral choir used to meet one Saturday afternoon a year for a Diocesan Choral Festival. The festival was formally established in 1886.

A book of music (typically collections of anthems, settings or music for a particular religious theme) was printed especially each year.

These meetings proved so popular that the nave was full of singers, with a congregation only having room in the aisles. They were even recorded in the mid-1970s and released on LP records.

Popularity steadily declined from the 1980s, with parish choirs declining in number in the county. Attendance dropped to such an extent that the festival was formally ended in 2006, and the last festival service book of music was produced that year. Now a much more informal gathering takes place one Saturday afternoon in late June or early July.

In this photograph, the cathedral choir is presumably the group standing to the right of centre with its back to the Chapter House, by the banner of St Peter. The gentlemen (between the clergy and the banner) are wearing mortar boards. Cassocks are being worn - compare to the photograph of 1880 in which they are not.

A large awning comes down from the Chapter House wall - this may have been erected especially for the occasion, or was perhaps to allow a temporary covered walkway between the cloisters and the small door to the left of the Chapter House.

Postcard owned by Mike Dobson (alto 1976-).