WHAT IS THE FEDERATION?
When the National Federation of Cathedral Old Choristers’ Associations, as it was originally named, was established in 1910, a letter was sent to the Precentor of each Cathedral stating that the aim of this newly formed body was:
'To bring together individual associations into closer touch with one another and to further in every way possible the interest of these associations. The members of any association shall be received as honorary members by the association wherein they may be resident.'
This aim of promoting contact and friendship has stayed with the members of the Federation ever since, but has also evolved to assist in maintaining and improving the high standard of Choral Music, which plays such an important part in the daily worship of our Cathedrals and Collegiate Churches. It now boasts amongst its members Associations from most Cathedrals in the UK, as well as abroad, as well as some of England’s College Chapels and Collegiate Churches. The Federation has, at times, been very vocal in its support for the preservation of our Choral Tradition and was instrumental in the campaign to retain Choral Evensong on Radio 3 when the BBC threatened to axe the programme and also assisted to bring about a favourable outcome when the closure of Choir Schools was threatened. (See the History page)
The present officers of the Federation can be found on the Officers page.
WHO ARE ITS MEMBERS?
Affiliated Membership of the Federation can be considered from any constituted Association to which former choristers can belong. These Associations run their own affairs normally with a constitution and committee and they usually hold a reunion once a year when members have the opportunity to come back and rekindle old friendships and acquaintances. (See the Latest News page for news from Associations)
Individual membership is open to any individual who is not a member of an affiliated association
THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
This is held each year in May and is hosted by a different affiliated member Association each year in their home Cathedral, Chapel or Church. All member Associations are encouraged to send at least one representative who has voting rights, and the day usually includes lunch, the meeting and evensong, with usually a guided tour or activity provided for those not attending the meeting. (See the Events page for full details of the next AGM)
This is the highlight of the Federation’s year, and like the AGM, hosted by a different affiliated Association each year. It is a weekend package that usually starts Friday afternoon and includes accommodation, good food, good music and excellent company. The highlights of the weekend are the Festival Evensong and Banquet on Saturday. The weekend programmes usually build in plenty of spare time to spend catching up with old friends and making new ones and there is often the chance for Old Choristers to join the host Cathedral Choir singing part of the service. Tours and visits out are organised and spouses and friends are warmly welcomed. (See the Events page for full details of the next Festival)
Approximately once every two years the Federation organises a tour to places of interest around the world. These have largely been limited to Northern Europe and included France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Portugal. However, in 2007 a tour to New Zealand pushed the boundaries world wide and 2008 saw us come closer to home with a week discovering Yorkshire. (Details of past and future tours can be found on the Events page)
ONCE A CHORISTER MAGAZINE
The Federations official publication is ‘Once a Chorister’, published annually in the spring. It contains details of the forth coming Festival, news from member Associations, articles of general interest and a list of all the member Association contacts. (See the Magazine page for more details and sample articles)
The documents page contains copies of the "What is the Federation?" leaflet, the Federation Constitution and Annual Reports as well as other useful documents for member associations.
ARE YOU AN OLD CHORISTER?
If you once sang in a Cathedral or College Choir, but are not in contact with your Old Choristers Association, look up your choir on the Associations Pages section to find out who to contact. Do not be deterred from making contact if you live away from where you once sang. These days, Associations members live not only all over the country but all over the world and still keep in contact. Alternatively, you will almost certainly be made most welcome to join an association local to you as an Associate Member.
WHY NOT JOIN US?
By being a member of an Affiliated Association you are, by default, a member of the Federation. You can apply for an FCOCA membership card either through your Association Secretary or direct to the Federation. The card not only acts as an identification badge at Federation events but can also entitle you to free admission to some Cathedrals that charge entry fees and discount in some Cathedral Shops, etc. (See the Membership Card page for full details)
Individual membership is open to any individual who is not a member of an affiliated association (See the Membership Page for furthur details)
Alternatively, you may just wish to receive a copy of the magazine ‘Once a Chorister’ each year and be placed on the mailing list. (See the Magazine page for an order form)
Whatever you decide to do, the Old Chorister network can open up a world of friendships and contact with many people who share similar interests.
The Federation runs a shop which is open at Federation events and by post. (See the Merchandise page for further details and an order form)
Lord, we thank you for the music we enjoyed in our lives as choristers and sang in your house to glorify your name. Let that music always be a witness to your majesty and love, and remind us that you are always watching, and listening, from your heavenly throne. May your Spirit guide us through our daily lives so that we may continue to be the instruments of your peace, and proclaim your glory with a glad voice.
Adapted from “The Musician’s Prayer”