On Valentine’s Day, Leeds Cathedral Choir received a huge boost when its recording of the ethereal sacred music of Arvo Part’s The Beatitudes was played on BBC Radio 3.
The national exposure was part of by the programme Private Passions, which was presented by BBC DJ Michael Berkeley.
The show, which features special guests who reveal the ‘private musical passions’ that drive them, had as that day’s guest the economist Tim Harford.
The recording he chose was conducted by the director of Leeds Diocesan Schools Singing Programme, Thomas Leech, and accompanied on the cathedral organ by Daniel Justin.
This national airtime isn’t the first for Leeds’ choirs, which continue to go from strength to strength thanks to the enthusiasm and musical excellence inspired at an early age in Leeds Catholic primary schools by the diocese’s Schools Singing Programme. The diocesan choirs are now some of the most-broadcast on the BBC.
Many more of the diocesan schools are set to benefit from a multi-million pound grant awarded to the diocese by the Hamish Ogston Foundation, for the sole purpose of expanding this successful programme of evangelisation through music and liturgy.
Picture: Tom Leech conducts BBC Radio 3’s Choral Vespers from Leeds Cathedral, February 2019.