Voices are in tune for Christmas at Leeds Minster

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They are one group of people who can be guaranteed to hit the high notes this Christmas

Year in, year out, the much-loved choir of Leeds Minster follows the same festive routine.

And today, Christmas Eve, forms one of the most important parts of that busy seasonal schedule.

Following evensong at 4pm at the Minster, the choir’s members will make their way as usual to Leeds General Infirmary.

There they will do the rounds of the wards, bringing musical cheer to those unfortunate enough to be in hospital over Christmas.

Then it will be back to the Minster for midnight mass before an early start on Christmas Day with a communion service at 9.15am and a main service at 10.30am.

John Tempest, a long-serving member of the choir, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The visit to LGI is something we always do.

“There is Christmas spirit within the hospital already, of course, but we want to show the patients that there are people thinking and caring about them beyond there as well.”

The choir has also performed at places including Leeds Town Hall and Leeds’s markets during December, with Mr Tempest saying: “It’s about giving the church a presence in the city and spreading the Christmas message to those who might not normally attend its services.”

Situated on Kirkgate in the city centre and formerly known as Leeds Parish Church, Leeds Minster has a long and distinguished musical tradition.

When the present church was built in the mid-19th century, Samuel Sebastian Wesley – one of the top organists and composers of the time – was recruited from Exeter Cathedral as choirmaster.

Today the choir is directed by the recently-appointed Paul Dewhurst and is mostly made up of volunteers.

There are, however, a number of choral scholarships on offer to students in full-time education.