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The work of the trust

The Aims of the trust are:

* to support choristers both instrumentally and vocally;

* to offer educational opportunities to improve musicianship in local church choirs;

* to run choral workshops; 

* to work in collaboration with local churches to sing choral evensong;

* to support local schools musically. 

 

The Objectives of the trust are:

"To advance the education of the parishioners of St. Wulfram’s Church and the town of Grantham together with the local region by the provision of a centre of training to enhance, safeguard and sustain the highest standards of sacred and secular choral and organ music, and for the general benefit of the community and to further such charitable purpose or purposes as the trustees in their absolute discretion shall from time to time determine"

The trust was named after the late Philip Lank, who contributed so much to music in Grantham, in particular at St.Wulfram's where he was Organist and Choirmaster for 23 years. 

Since the founding of the trust in 2008, the trustees have supported the development and growth – both numerically and musically of the St. Wulfram's Choir.  It has encouraged the Outreach activities to the outlying parish churches. Some very practical results have been the re-robing of the choir and the provision of new hymn books, as well as funding the purchase of replacement music sets and the commissioning of new music. 

In terms of the development of the choir, the significant efforts have been:

  • creation of Organ Scholarships and a funding path for able choristers;

  • creation of Choral Scholarships for teenagers leaving the main choir so that they are encouraged to maintain their development as singers. This made it possible in 2010 for the church to inaugurate a regular Friday evening choral evensong sung by the Youth Choir.

The  Trust helps to fund these organ and choral scholarships.

The successful programme of Cathedral visits requires financial support, particularly for the residential visits to make sure that choristers are not prevented from attending for financial reasons. These events are very popular with the choristers encouraging, them to strive for a high standard of musicianship for a sustained number of days and services. The social as well as musical benefits are very great. The trust is pleased to support these from time to time.

These activities require the commitment of our Master of the Music, as well as some supporting funds for the outreach activities. The Philip Lank Trust is seeking to create a substantial endowment, so that these may be funded on a permanent basis out of interest on the endowment. 

St. Wulfram’s Youth Choir was formed in 2010 in order to nurture the musical talent of young choristers once they leave the front row. We are currently funding workshops given by the renowned Gesualdo Six consort. We are grateful to the Postlethwaite Music Foundation for the ongoing financial support with this project

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The Trust has supported choristers who are learning the organ, more recently support has been available on the RSCM Pipeline scheme or the Young Organ Scholars Trust scheme. 

 

In 2016 an award from the Ouseley Trust enabled us to start a choral scholarship scheme for those moving from the treble line to sing soprano, alto, tenor or bass in the Youth Choir. The Ouseley Trust have continued to support this aspect of the trust's work, and enabled the trust to award 5 Choral Scholarships each year since 2019.  

As the endowment grows through donations, grants and bequests, the trust will be able to increase the range of activities that it can support. 


The trustees aim to publish a newsletter once a year to keep donors, friends and choir members past and present informed of what we are doing. The latest newsletter is available to download 
here.

Dr Tim Williams, Director of Music:

Dr Tim Williams is Director of Music at St Wulfram’s Church. He moved to Grantham on completion of his PhD in Musicology at Cambridge University in 2008, where in his final months he held the post of Lecturer and Director of Studies in Music at Trinity College, covering for the regular post-holder’s sabbatical. Although he enjoyed academic life, Dr Williams was keen to expand his experience and horizons in church music, as an organist and choirmaster.

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During his years in Grantham, Dr Williams has overseen the development of a thriving parish church music department, which now features cathedral-standard choral initiatives for children, teenage and adult singers. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO) and a professionally qualified choir director (DipCHD). Under his direction, the choristers have sung in iconic UK landmarks such as Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral and York Minster. Dr Williams enjoys the day-to-day rhythm of teaching and training choristers, and rehearsing choral music for church services, exploring music that reflects the changing seasons of the liturgical year.

In parallel to his vocation in church music, Dr Williams works in local schools, helping to animate music, he teaches the organ for the Young Organ Scholars’ Trust, and he tutors for the Royal School of Church Music including on national courses. 

Dr Williams holds a parallel academic career, as Director of Music and Lecturer of Music at Harlaxton College, the UK campus of the University of Evansville. He has recently begun academic teaching in music at Harlaxton, where he has directed the College Choir since 2013. He has also published on aspects of sacred music (including on chorister recruitment and retention, on the Covid-19 pandemic and virtual choirs, and on the role and needs of teenagers in church music). His research methods in church music history include many engagement projects with source material and performance practice – this resulted in a publication ‘Rethinking Early Music in a Time of Isolation, co-authored with Professor Magnus Williamson (Newcastle University) in Early Music (Oxford University Press, 2022). Wider research interests, dating back to his PhD on the symphony in mid-Victorian concert life, include subjects such as canon and marginalisation, music reception history in culture, and the role of the listener in shaping musical experience.

Dr Tim Williams regularly tutors on behalf of the Royal School of Church Music, including tutoring choristers at the annual Bath Summer Course for Young People, giving conference presentations and delivering webinars. This included a webinar for International Chorister Day 2022 on the question of recruitment and retention of young singers in church choirs. Dr Williams has also helped advise the RSCM in the development of online learning and chorister training resources, and on behalf of the RSCM has created CPD resources for church musicians on recruiting and retaining choristers.

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