News story from Salisbury Cathedral School

Choir Schools Association (CSA) Welcomes new Chairman

CSA is delighted to welcome Clive Marriott, Head Master of Salisbury Cathedral School as its new Chairman. He succeeded Neil Chippington, Headmaster of St John’s College School, Cambridge on 1 September. The Association offers heartfelt thanks to Nei

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6th September 2021 — CSA is delighted to welcome Clive Marriott, Head Master of Salisbury Cathedral School as its new Chairman. He succeeded Neil Chippington, Headmaster of St John’s College School, Cambridge on 1 September. The Association offers heartfelt thanks to Neil for steering us so well over the last three years and through the pandemic.

Clive’s new role coincides with Salisbury celebrating the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of England’s first cathedral girls’ choir. Since then many other foundations have followed suit and there are growing opportunities for girls wanting to be a chorister.

A life-long commitment to choristership

Clive brings a life-long love of the English choral tradition alongside a thirty year career in teaching, most of which has been spent leading two Choir Schools. He was a chorister in Crediton Parish Church Choir, and remains eternally grateful to his Choirmistress, the late Dorothy Sheppard, for teaching him the organ and the rudimentary skills of conducting.

From an early age he knew that teaching would become his vocation, and whilst studying at Queen Elizabeth’s school, a period of work experience confirmed this calling. King Alfred’s College, Winchester provided a friendly and vibrant atmosphere to complete a teaching degree. Needless to say, he spent many happy hours in the Cathedral enjoying its world-renowned musical heritage.

During the first eight years of his teaching career in a large, maintained primary school in his home town, he regularly took the school choir and orchestra into the local community, helping to make music more accessible to a diverse audience. He continued to support the training of the choristers in the church choir, and his outreach work at the school provided a healthy source of recruitment.

In May 2000, an opportunity arose at St Paul’s Cathedral School, London, as Deputy Head, and House Master for the 40 boarding boy choristers. For 14 years Clive lived and worked alongside the choristers, accompanying them on foreign tours and supporting them in their busy routine, including numerous services and events of national significance. This experience formed the basis of his MA dissertation, at the Institute of Education, London. Whilst at St Paul’s, he volunteered at the Three Choirs Festival, as lead Chorister Chaperone, gaining a better understanding of the uniqueness of each choir school and the numerous threads which inextricably bind them together.

The value of school music

Clive often reflects on his journey and the importance of singing at grass roots level in primary schools and parish choirs. He is passionate about reaching out and in his ninth year of headship at Salisbury Cathedral School, emerging from the pandemic, he aspires to rekindle this strong tradition in his own school community, and support other initiatives across the nation.

At a time when mental health is high on everyone’s agenda, the benefits of music to wellbeing are more evident than ever. As an educationist, Clive sees in his pupils how the recent lockdowns have prompted more self-reflection and a remarkable ability to articulate their identity, sense of purpose and direction in life. In his own school and countless others, music has helped provide children with a vehicle for self-expression and a way of coping with the intricacies of our ever more complex society.

CSA – a new era in a changing landscape

During his year as chairman, Clive will lead the CSA into a new era, in which it will continue to celebrate its rich heritage, whilst ensuring that it continues to adapt and offer support to its members in the changing landscape ahead.

He says: “It is a privilege to be leading the CSA at a pivotal point in its history. I have great respect for all those who are custodians of a world class musical and cultural heritage, and in recent months I have been humbled to see how school leaders, church musicians and clergy have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure that this tradition not only survives, but continues to thrive. This is undoubtedly a very testing time for all who strive to ensure that future generations benefit from the transforming experience of choristership.

Recent lockdowns have reawakened the need in all of us to find more time for spiritual nourishment and reflection. In our fast and fleeting world, the music and liturgy embedded within our Anglican choral tradition seems more relevant than ever, providing a vision of hope for the future, lifting hearts and minds, and restoring the soul with its heavenly vision of God’s kingdom. Music speaks from the heart and to the heart. It opens doors of opportunity and it provides a language far beyond earthly expression.

Music, a means to heal and restore

At a time of uncertainty, music must remain the bedrock on which we can rely and draw strength from, and it will provide the means to heal and restore, drawing people from all backgrounds ever closer towards a common understanding, where they can live together in harmony and peace.”

In his spare time, Clive is also a keen gardener and cyclist, and when at home in North Devon, he enjoys exploring the coast path on foot, and makes regular visits to Lundy Island. All part of his own approach to healing and restoration outside a busy school life!

Salisbury Cathedral School (Coed 3-13) is a day and boarding school in Wiltshire.

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