'Preserving a unique and priceless recorded heritage'
Advent & Christmas 2016
Tell us what you think!
We'd love to hear what you think about the Archive, website and all what we do.
Click on the Comments Book to leave your post and to read what others have said.

Latest on-line
On 1st November the latest Discography will be published on the website, listing almost 1000 recent aquisitions to the Archive.
You will find the download link on this this page in the Website.

Instant Messenger
This is a new feature of the website.  So, if I'm showing on-line we can have a keyboard chat come and say Hi!

You will find the Instant Messenger box at the bottom of each webpage.

Recordings of the
Each month I feature my favorite music, dvd and documentary on the home page of the website.

Youtube Music
Click on the video and hear my welcome to the YouTube Music channel.

Historic recordings
Historic recordings are regularly added to the dedicated page on our website, complete with full details and photos where possible.
Each historic recording upload is notified on our Facebook & Twitter you never need miss any!
Click on the photo to visit the Historic Recordings page on the website.

Showing it's age!
The equipment used for transcribing 78s, LPs, tapes and cassettes has finally given up the ghost.    
So an entire new system has to be sorted out. This has put back transcribing work by six months!   The joys of being an archvist!
Christmas promo!
Taking a leaf from the record companies, here's my Christmas Promo Video ..... it sets the schmaltzy tone for the goodies to come! Click the video to start. 

Donation toward maintaing the Archive
As I'm sure you can appreciate, running and maintaining the Archive is an expensive, but very worthwhile undertaking.
Any donations, small or large, towards the continuing work of the Archive would be most welcome.
So why not give the Archive a Christmas present!  
You can donate using Paypal or any Debit/Credit card using the 'Donate' button at the bottom of each webpage.
Viewing the Newsletter
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1st December
on the Archive website
Dear ,
Pre-Christmas greetings to all our Newsletter subcribers and devotees of English Cathedral Music. Welcome to the lastest updates on the Archive and in particular our Advent & Christmas choral extravaganza...more on this later!

This year we have expanded our on-line presence with the use of Social Media and the results have been quite staggering.  In addition to reaching a world-wide audience, many cathedral musicians in the UK have discovered us for the first time.
Owing to the increased exposure, particularly from the YouTube Music Channel, vast amounts of archive recordings have been flooding in from those who wish to see this recorded choral heritage preserved....its very exciting and the gems just keep on coming!

Many of you will have already seen the new Website, Youtube Music Channel, Facebook and Twitter which are at the core of our global expansion!  For those who have and for those who haven't, this Newsletter explains everything in detail and highlights various features which you might have missed.
New Contact Details
Please ensure you have our new email address:
the old address '' is no longer active; apologies if you have tried to contact me on that address and had no reply.
New Website
At the centre of our on-line presence is the new website, linking our Youtube and social media.  

Since it went live in April many extra features and additions, together with new webpages, have been added. 

Last week I finally declared it finished.  (for now, anyhow!)

So if you havn't browsed in the past few weeks....then please do have a look.
I'd love to know what you think..... post a Comment!
YouTube Choir Music Channel
One of the most exciting events this year has been the launch of our YouTube Music Channel in collaberation with the 'Archives of Sound' channel, dedicated to Barry Rose's time at Guildford.
Click on logo to visit page
Their webmaster freely and generously gives large amounts of his time in maintaining our music channel......without him there would be no channel! and for that I am extremely grateful. You can read an article written by their web-team all about the Barry Rose Guildford Cathedral YouTube channel at the end of this Newsletter.
We started the YouTube channel on 8 March 2016 and it’s been hugley successful both in the UK and abroad, having been viewed in over 24 countries.  In fact more than half of the 120,000 channels views have been from outside the UK. One of the channel’s strengths is the breadth and depth of the Archive itself, as it includes cathedral choirs, church choirs, school choirs and other groups (as well as soloists) from Britain and beyond.
The backbone of the YouTube channel are the “BBC Choral Evensong” broadcasts, with the earliest from 1948 and currently includes over 100 recordings, although this is only a fraction of the total number in the Archive.
Through our YouTube music channel we can now share historic, rare and interesting recordings and DVDs from the Archive;  already there are over 400 uploads with more being added weekly.  The top five recordings are the TV broadcasts of Evensong from York Minster (3733 views), George Thalben-Ball taking a choir practice at the Temple Church (2803 views)  Choir of St Thomas, Fifth Avenue, New York (2388 views)  Ely cathedral choir & Harry Secombe singing 'Jerusalem the Golden' (2034 views) and the radio broadcast of the earliest surviving BBC Choral Evensong from Blackburn Cathedal in 1948  (1320 views)
The music channel has significantly brought the work of the Archive to a much wider audience and been received to great acclaim. Since launching we have 570 subscribers, 1200,000 views with 536,000 minutes of listening time.
It's free to subscribe to the Music Channel, so please do so and help us reach 1000 subcribers by Christmas!

It gives me the greatest of pleasure to share these gems from the Archive and hope you have many happy hours of listening and viewing.

Social Media
If you want to be kept up to date with all the latest news on the Archive, this is the place to be!  
Everytime we upload a recording onto our YouTube site, or add a Historic recording the website, a notification appears on Facebook & Twitter.  
We also post all the latest news & views, including updates on aquisitions to the don't miss out on what's happening at the Archive!

Click on logo to visit page

Both Facebook & Twitter are easily accessible via the Archive website.
You can browse our Facebook and Twitter pages just like any other website.  
You don't have to have a membership account with either site. (ignore login & sign-up request) 

Christmas with the Archive
Advent Calendar & Christmas Card preview : click on the card 
Those who know me, know I have a passion for creating slide-shows and audio-visual delights.  They also know I have a great liking of slush and schmaltz! so it will come as no surprise that both these passions have gone into overdrive for our Advent & Christmas musical extravaganza! 
This is the first Christmas treat, which has easily topped any previous creations for schmaltz. The sugar-sweetness and visuals are off the good taste scale!
It took ages to find the perfect performance of the perfect music to accompany the card and you'll probably be surprised at the choice of choir.
However, more was needed ....the Christmas Card wasn’t enough! So I’ve come up with something extra-special; the interactive video Advent Calendar.

Each day, behind the door, is a specially selected video clip, featuring a mainstream or more unusual choir.  I bet you just can't wait!
goes live 1st December! ....don't miss it!
Wallow in the Christmas Card and enjoy the daily delights of the Advent Calendar! and to get you in the mood, click on the Christmas scene above for a preview!

I would also like to express my sincere and grateful thanks to the webmaster of the 'Archives of Sound' Youtube channel, who prepared and enhanced the twenty four videos for the calendar.

Can't wait to hear what you think about our Christmas treats.....leave a post in the Comments Book! 

'Archives of Sound' from Guildford Cathedral
A homespun archive?
The background to “Archives of Sound”, the unofficial sound archive of Guildford Cathedral Choir (1961-1974)
“Appropriately, given the non-Establishment footing of the whole Guildford project, many of the choir’s recordings have been posted online. [...] Even at their most homespun, you sense something special in them.”

So wrote Andrew Mellor in The Gramophone in December 2014.

It’s hard to know what Mr Mellor meant by “non-establishment” but we refuse to take offence at “homespun” because the recordings featured on ArchivesofSound are certainly home-made – if not necessarily “homespun”. They are not over-edited, over-EQ’d constructions designed to sell commercial CDs but honest, realistic recordings made during live performances at daily Evensongs (and, occasionally, concerts) by dint of sticking a couple of microphones on a big pole and pressing the RECORD button.

Of course, it was never quite as simple as that. Although in the very early days Barry Rose made the recordings himself on a bulky Ferrograph machine via the cathedral’s PA system, in due course better microphones were obtained, and the sound archive also benefited from the happy co-incidence that Barry’s brother-in-law, Nicolas Ware, was a professional sound engineer. It is he who is responsible for most of the recordings in the archive.

So what? Lots of choirs make recordings of themselves. Well, so they do. But very few cathedrals can boast a sound archive dating back to the day of the building’s actual  Consecration. In fact, there are only two who can (Guildford in 1961, and Coventry in 1962) and though both Cathedrals meant the founding of a new choir, as far as we know, Guildford is the only cathedral whose musical growth and development in the first 13 years of life can be traced through the medium of sound.  
Rehearsal on the morning of the Consecration
17 May 1961
Circumstances militated against the choir from the start. The cathedral’s location, on a hilltop one mile outside the town centre, hardly encouraged visitors to an early evening sung Service. Construction work had been interrupted by both the Second World War and the shortage of materials after it, and with ever-escalating building costs, there was no money available for music.

Worse still, the architect had made little provision for a choir – or even for an organ – and there was no choir school. That meant that the Guildford boys could not be auditioned from all over the country (as they were at King’s College Cambridge or St Paul’s Cathedral, for example) but had to be drawn from local schools, and from one in particular – Lanesborough, which is now owned by the Royal Grammar School and today is recognised as the officially-designated choir school, although its primary function was, and still is, scholastic rather than choral.
But no one auditioned for Lanesborough, either. Instead, three or four new choristers were selected each year from the school’s Junior and Senior choirs, so it was a question of Barry having to make the best of what was then available. It’s worth bearing this in mind when you listen to the recordings, though it is these 16 pioneer choristers who laid the foundation of what we now still hear and enjoy over 50 years on.
The archive itself consists of over 200 reel-to-reel tapes, all of them at least 40 years old and in various stages of decay. Most are 7-inch reels but there are a few 10-inch reels as well. There are also BBC backing tapes from broadcast evensongs, and master tapes from scheduled recording sessions for LPs and other BBC broadcasts (including some instructive out-takes), as well as the choir’s UK visits to other English Cathedrals.
This year, a major re-cataloguing of the entire collection has been taking place, as a result of which we will shortly know exactly what is on every tape and – just as important – where every tape is! Over the coming months (or, possibly, years) we will continue working through the remaining material, much of which will be uploaded to YouTube. A very good reason to subscribe to the channel!   
Rehearsal for Evensong at King's College,
Cambridge.  29 July 1967
The recordings were originally made as a way of monitoring and encouraging progress. The cathedral choristers were obliged to listen back to their performances and the men of the choir were also often under the same obligation. “We can hear the tenors in bar 4; this should not happen in a better ensemble ... not everybody came in together at the start of the Gloria ... who’s this mythical person called Hosannarin?” etc.

The boys were also expected to apply critical listening skills to recordings of other choirs, notably those of King’s College and St John’s College (both at Cambridge).
YouTube is an ideal way of making sound archive material accessible for interested listeners, and the response to the ArchivesofSound channel since its launch in November 2012 has been most gratifying. Four years on, it has more than 850 subscribers (only a handful of whom have any connection with the cathedral) and averages around 800 visitors a day across the entire channel. Since its launch, there have been more than half a million “views” and visitors have listened to 1,500,000 minutes-worth of music – which is roughly equivalent to listening to the 15th Evening psalm (73 verses long!) 100,000 times.
YouTube Analytics allow one to obtain a good idea of audience demographics, and we are pleasantly surprised to note that our largest audience sector is the 25-34 year-old age group (at 23%).
One might expect an all-male choir to carry little appeal for the fairer sex, but our gender split for channel views is 68% male to 32% female. Some of our most perceptive commenters are female, which suggests that the channel appeals quite well to both genders. This is important to us, because ArchivesofSound has no axe to grind on the subject of all-male choirs. Indeed, the Guildford Old Choristers Association was instrumental in helping to establish an equivalent team of girl choristers as part of the Cathedral choir, and it is heartening to see that they are flourishing.
ArchivesofSound also appeals beyond the UK’s borders. Only 40% of our visitors come from the UK, with 26% from the United States, followed in order of popularity by Canada, Netherlands, Barbados, Australia, Germany, France, Nigeria and more than 100 other countries or dominions (even including a place called “Unknown region”, wherever that may lie).
In general, the most popular uploads are the psalms, one of which has had more than 33,000 “views”. Our two compilations of “Psalms to Anglican Chant”, each over 70 minutes long, have had 5,000 and 3,000 views respectively. Christmas music is popular, too, as are settings of the canticles such as Sumsion in G, Wood in F (Collegium Regale) and Murrill in E. Tastes in anthems lean towards the romantic, the most-listened-to pair being John Varley Roberts’ Seek ye the Lord and Edgar Bainton’s And I saw a new heaven.
The preparation of uploads is fairly straightforward. Tapes are played back on a Revox A77 via a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, the resulting soundfile appearing in Sound Forge in WAV format before being imported into NCH Software’s VideoPad, where it is combined with a static JPG graphic to create a “video” that can be uploaded to YouTube as a streamable MP4 file.
It’s on a chilly February evening when there’s no one in the congregation that the real purpose of a cathedral choir becomes evident, for its function is not to release flashy CDs or to present eye-catching concerts but to offer praise to the greater glory of God on a daily basis, whether or not anyone on earth is listening. So if you did happen to miss Evensong at Guildford on Friday 23 February 1973, now is your chance to listen to the psalms that were sung that night: Psalms for the 23rd Evening..
Because this is the true purpose of the ArchivesofSound YouTube channel: to allow people to hear what the music at Guildford Cathedral was really like in those first formative years of its history, 1961-1974.
Call it a “homespun” archive, if you will, but we prefer to think of it as a “home-made” one.
The ArchiveofSound webteam

Barry Rose still conducting at 80!
Barry Rose, still conducting at 80!

Archive of Recorded Church Music

Acknowledged to be the definitive Discography
and Collection of recordings from choirs of
gentlemen and boys singing in the
English Cathedral tradition