Following a convoluted dialogue with the BBC, I have discovered that contrary to previous advice on the subject, they do have within their archives an almost complete recording of the Consecration Service, broadcast live by Richard Dimbleby.
Those of us who sang in the choir that day have always wanted to see the broadcast, as for obvious reasons we never actually got to see it. Family members not in the congregation were able to give us blow by blow accounts, and report back on who the cameramen took a fancy to, and who was caught out fidgeting or not paying attention, but most of us just want a chance to relive a momentous occasion in our lives.
We have already had a chance to pass judgement on the quality of our singing, as we were able to get together for the Golden Anniversary and listen to a recording of the radio broadcast. Curiously the highlight was not the music, though we were all pretty proud of what we had achieved, but the magnificent sermon delivered by Archbishop Ramsey in his marvellously old fashioned sing song voice and annunciation skills that went out of fashion in the 1930s.
One disappointment with the radio broadcast was a pre-recorded item being broadcast over our singing of “I was glad”. I had waited 50 years to hear my voice belting out the top Bflats, and am still waiting!
Indeed it was this radio recording which started my long negotiations with the BBC. We, the ex choral scholars, were seeking permission to re-record this radio broadcast to fund raise for the cathedral, from the reel to reel recording acquired by Brian Saunders the first Head Chorister of The New Coventry Cathedral.
At the time, the BBC archive department reported that they had no copies of the consecration for either TV or radio, and it seemed likely that we might be able to take mutual advantage of our recording.
No such luck, BBC regulations ban any organisation from using their copyrighted material for fund raising activity of any sort ... not the sort of news the Dean needs to be hearing at the current moment.
But just as I was being turned down flat, I did discover that the BBC did in fact still have a copy of the Dimbleby broadcast, so I immediately pursued the possibility of it being shown again at the Cathedral.
So where are we now?
I have agreed to pay for a high quality copy to be made, with permission to show it, once only, at the Cathedral on the strict understanding that it cannot be used as a vehicle for fund raising.
At the March meeting of the Friends Council, I will be discussing ways to make best use of this once only opportunity.
I know that most of my choir colleagues who took part in the consecration will be there, whenever we choose to show it, and so will some of the choral clerks. But I know there is a feeling that there are many others connected to the Cathedral, who would very much want to see this broadcast again, or indeed, for the first time!
Memories of the 1963 trip to Berlin
The choir outside Berlin Town Hall
Phil Mienzikowski, Guy Hawking and Rod Marshall on the Berlin boat trip
Coverage in the Coventry Telegraph...
...and in the German press - showing Rod Marshall with Derek Hossle
Another picture for the archives - taken in 2012 at the time of the Cathedral's Golden Jubilee.
Welcome to this Coventry Cathedral Choir page, dedicated to former members of Coventry Cathedral Choir. It doesn’t matter whether you sang as a choirboy, choirgirl or choral clerk, this page is for you.
Website by Chris Juby