History of the Three Choirs Festival

The origins of the annual Music Meetings of the Three Choirs of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford were outlined in 1729 in a sermon preached by Thomas Bisse, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral. His three-centuries-old words still serve to describe our festival today.

It sprang, he said, from "...a very small and accidental origin. It was…a fortuitous and friendly proposal, between a few lovers of harmony and brethren of the correspondent choirs, to commence an anniversary visit, to be kept in turn; which voluntary instance of friendship and fraternity was quickly strengthened by social compact; and afterwards, being blessed and sanctioned by a charity collection, with the word of exhortation added to confirm the whole, it is arrived to the figure and estimation as ye see this day…Though the members of that communion we have entered into, being voluntary, may go off as their wills vary or as their affairs require, yet, by the accession of others, the Society may subsist unto many years, yea, generations, tendering to the furtherance of God’s glory, in the exaltation of His holy worship, to the improvement of our choirs, the credit of our foundations; to the benefit of our cities, the comfort of the fatherless; to the delight of mankind, of ourselves, and all that come nigh us. Upon these grounds it commenced, and upon these let our brotherly love continue.”