The Three Choirs Festival is a venerable coming-together of people from the three cathedral cities of Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester to produce an annual programme of choral and orchestral music, chamber recitals, cathedral services and more, rotating between the cities on a three-year cycle. Until very recently, the festival was entirely produced by the voluntary committees in each city, who together form an Association, which today is the company that produces each festival.
In the last few years, a small professional management team has been employed by the Three Choirs Festival Association to work with the Festival Committees to ensure that a three-centuries-old institution is fully equipped to flourish in the future.
The central and vital role played by volunteers gives the Three Choirs Festival a character and an atmosphere like none other. It is widely recognised for its friendly welcome, its historic appeal, and the clear sense that, perhaps more than any other classical festival, it truly belongs to its audience.
The Association Chairman is the Chair of the Directors of the Three Choirs Festival Association Ltd, the body which is made up of representatives from each city’s Festival Committee, and which approves all activity carried out under the auspices of the Three Choirs Festival.
The Festival Chairman in each city is the Chair of that Festival Committee, and also ex officio a Director of the Three Choirs Festival Association. The Festival Chairman leads the Festival Committee in agreeing and delivering the programme proposed by the Artistic Director.
The city Friends Committees are the groups in each city which organise local fundraising events and provide good food and a warm welcome during the festival itself. The Friends Chairman is also an ex officio member of the relevant Festival Committee.
The Artistic Director of each year’s festival is the Director of Music at that city’s Cathedral. Appointed ex officio, they are employed by the Three Choirs Festival Association to devise the programme, conduct some of the week’s concerts, and rehearse the choirs. The other two cities’ Artistic Directors also conduct a smaller number of concerts in that year, an “away” year for them, in support of their colleague.
The Lay Clerks are the professional staff singers at the Cathedrals who form a key part - and indeed the original part - of the Three Choirs which give the festival its name.
The Festival Chorus is made up of three contingents, one from each city, drawn from the cream of that city’s choral societies. In addition, the boys from the Cathedrals are members of the chorus for certain repertoire.
The Three Choirs Festival Society is the membership organisation which supports the festival and offers members benefits.
The Three Choirs Festival Association Management is the small professional team which exists to conduct the business of the festival, providing the contemporary infrastructure and management any arts organisation of this scale needs today.
Working with all the other groups and individuals through a combination of management, advice, and hands-on involvement, this team led by the Chief Executive produces each festival from high-level fundraising to booking artists to running the ticket office to organising the logistics, as well as undertaking long-term strategic, business, and artistic planning.