The Cathedral Choir

Choir Trip to Birmingham July 2024

On Saturday 6th July, 33 choir members, 15 instrumentalists, staff and 20 supporters headed off to Birmingham for the annual Music for Youth National Festival.
Music for Youth is a national youth music charity working with young people aged 25 and under across the UK. Their vision is to ensure that every young person in the UK can achieve their musical potential by performing the music they love. They believe that music and the chance to participate in high-
quality musical activities should be open to every young person.
The Music for Festival is a collection of regional festivals across the UK which aim to inspire musicians at every level of experience and across every genre of music. It is the UK’s largest festival for young musicians with around 30,000 musicians taking part each year.
The Cathedral Choristers collaborated with local young person’s string orchestra “Simply Strings” in the local heats in Caerleon back in February and following this performance, it was a massive honour and privilege to be picked as one of 9 vocal groups to perform in the Music for Youth National Festival vocal showcase concert ,“Night of 1000 voices”, which took place in Birmingham Symphony Hall. It was a really exciting experience to be able to perform in such a fantastic venue, in front of a huge and enthusiastic
We performed the Benedictus from “The Armed Man”, a Mass for Peace, by Welsh Composer, Karl Jenkins. Particularly appropriate as this is Karl Jenkins’s 80th birthday year, and in these troubled times, singing for peace, is so very important. It was a great day out and the performance was a really magical musical performance. The Choristers represented Newport Cathedral brilliantly and all the young people represented Newport and Wales brilliantly, both on and off the stage. A really special and memorable day for everyone! Thank you to the all those who made it possible and all those who supported us.

New Director of Music

Following the interviews at the end of May, we are delighted to announce that we have appointed Thomas Coxhead to be our new Cathedral Director of Music. Tom is currently Director of Music at Christ Church, East Sheen in South West London alongside a busy schedule of work as a freelance conductor, organist, and teacher. He has previously held posts as Assistant Organist at Ripon and Brecon cathedrals, Ampleforth College and also taught at Harrogate Ladies’ College.

 Tom began his musical career as a chorister at Chester Cathedral and went on to study music at Durham University. He has a Research Master of Arts in Musicology and was recently awarded a Master of Music in Choral Conducting with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music. He has a Licentiate, or professional diploma, from the Royal Academy of Music and is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists.

 Tom frequently edits and arranges music, as well as maintaining his academic profile researching twentieth century British composers – particularly Kenneth Leighton. He occasionally composes, and his anthem, written with his sister Elizabeth, ‘My eyes for beauty pine’, was sung at the Royal Maundy service in 2023 at York Minster.

 In his spare time, Tom enjoys hiking and walking, is a keen amateur artist, and likes cooking – particularly enjoying good food with company to match.

 Tom was the unanimous choice of the panel and the clear favourite of the choir after leading rehearsals with them as part of the interview process. He is passionate about the role of music within the liturgy.

 Tom will take up the appointment at the beginning of September, at the start of the new choir year.

 Commenting on the appointment, the Dean, Very Revd Ian Black said: “I am delighted that Tom has accepted the role of Director of Music. He will build on the tremendous work of Emma Gibbins, taking the choir and music of the Cathedral forward. We are looking forward to welcoming him to Newport.”

 Tom said, “I am really looking forward to taking up the position of Director of Music at Newport Cathedral. I greatly enjoyed working with the choir in the audition process and I am excited to lead the music at the Cathedral working alongside my new colleagues. It’s clear to me that Emma Gibbins has done so much to build up the music at Newport and I hope to be able to continue the great work she has achieved.”

Music & The Cathedral Choir

Music forms an important part of the life of Newport Cathedral. The Cathedral choir consists of three separate groups of singers: 16 boy choristers (aged 7 – 13), 20 girl choristers (aged 7 – 15) and the adults, providing the alto, tenor and bass parts. The Girls’ Choir was launched in 2015. The choir sings at Sunday services: Sung Eucharist and Choral Evensong and at Evensong on a Wednesday, as well as at other special services throughout the year. A wide range of repertoire is sung, from the 17th Century to the 21st Century.

As well as singing at the Cathedral, the choir is often invited to sing at other churches locally and further afield and there are regular summer tours. Recently the boys and adults have sung in St David’s Cathedral and the girls and adults sang in Chester Cathedral this summer.


On Sunday 10th September 2023 the Choir sung Vespers at Tintern Abbey. You can read the report by clicking here.

(Next month’s Music List will be available here as soon as it is prepared)

Musical Training

Many of the boy choristers have gone on to choose music for GCSE and A-level, and a number have later won prestigious cathedral and university choral scholarships. It is hoped that the girl choristers will be just as successful in the future and we believe that the love of music that began at Newport Cathedral will remain with all our choristers, old and young, for the rest of their lives!

The education of the children in the choir is an important part of the Cathedral’s mission: the children receive a first rate, free musical training and work to a professional standard, having fun in a disciplined environment, developing good team work, self-confidence and commitment. Whilst some of the work of the choir is undoubtedly demanding, we believe that the rewards to the children’s personal development are incalculable. 

Choir Gallery

Newport Cathedral