We’re delighted to be able to share the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury has today (April 7th) announced the recipients of the 2021 Lambeth Awards, including the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship to our Organist Emeritus and former Director of Music Kerry Beaumont. Kerry has received the award for “outstanding service to music and worship at the cathedrals of St Davids, Ripon and Coventry, with particular reference at Coventry to outreach, recruitment and nurture of boy and girl choristers to create a cathedral choir with diversity at its heart.”
The full citation continues:
“During his tenure as Director of Music, first at St Davids and subsequently at Ripon Cathedral, Kerry Beaumont earned a reputation as an extraordinarily gifted organist and Master of the Choristers who possessed the ability, vision and passion to re-energise cathedral choirs encountering particular difficulties. There was much work to be done on his arrival at Coventry Cathedral in 2006, with Chorister numbers at an alltime low. With no choir school, the zeal and energy with which he visited primary schools across the city to promote the idea that being a chorister would be fun, yielded wonderful results. He developed a systematic recruiting process at a huge personal expense of time, which he set aside at points throughout each year to keep new choristers coming into the Boys’ Choir, especially. The esteem with which the choristers held him is shown by the high number of boy choristers who wanted to remain as Choral Scholars once their voices broke. Both the Boys’ Choir and the Girls’ Choir have gone from strength to strength with the FCM recognising the ethnic diversity which Kerry Beaumont has achieved through his outstanding outreach. The respect he gave each chorister from their earliest probationer days made them feel especially valued. They knew he believed in them and even the most reticent chorister proved their worth with his encouragement. He nurtured their Christian faith, taking time to question the choristers on the meaning of a word in a Psalm verse, in the midst of a rehearsal. With his quiet modesty it was always about God, about the music, but never about Kerry Beaumont.
Kerry Beaumont’s dedication and devotion to his task as a committed Christian musician within the Anglican Choral tradition is simply remarkable in the context of Coventry: without a choir school, and with meagre financial resources, he produced wonders.”
The Lambeth Awards, which recognise outstanding contributions to the Church and wider society, have been given to over 30 individuals. They include scientists, musicians, academics, activists, peacemakers, doctors and clergy.
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “During the pandemic, we have seen just how vital the contribution of churches is to the fabric of our society. As well as finding creative ways to worship together safely, churches have been feeding the hungry, reaching out to the lonely and offering hope to those struggling in the midst of the crisis.
“This year’s Lambeth Awards recipients, not all of whom are Christians, embody this spirit of service – not just during the pandemic but, for many of them, through decades of faithful work. I commend them and their efforts, and look forward to the time when we meet to celebrate their contributions to society.”
Archbishops of Canterbury have long recognised outstanding individuals for their efforts, and the current form of the Lambeth Awards was developed in 2016.