Ipswich choir supported by Ed Sheeran release Christmas album

Choristers in full song at Ipswich St Mary le Tower church

Choristers in full song at Ipswich St Mary le Tower church - Credit: St Mary le Tower

An Ipswich choir whose patron is Christmas chart-topping superstar Ed Sheeran has released its own festive album to celebrate the season.

On ‘The Road to Bethlehem’, boys and girls aged under 18 sing traditional carols and original songs - including ‘There is No Rose,’ written by internationally acclaimed conductor and composer Ben Parry, who was raised in Ipswich. 

Former Framlingham chorister Ed Sheeran became patron of St Mary-le-Tower Choral Foundation in 2018. 

Director of Music at the church, Christopher Borrett said: "I haven't heard him say anything [about the album] yet, I think he's on the other side of the Atlantic.

Ed Sheeran performing at the Earthshot Prize ceremony at Alexandra Palace

Ed Sheeran is patron of the choir and recently sent them a video message of encouragement - Credit: Yui Mok/PA

"But he’s really supportive. He sent a video message to the choristers recently, saying how pleased he was that everyone had stuck with it over the pandemic.

“He said, well done for seizing the opportunity, because these are the seeds from which anything could be grow – look what happened to him. It was great to have him take the time and say to the choristers, look, you may find that a Sunday afternoon service in the middle of January when it’s cold and wet is not the most enthralling thing, but it’s all part of a journey that will take you somewhere in life, whether it be musical or not.” 

Mr Borrett has worked tirelessly in his role to nurture musical potential in young people. 

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He said: “Music provision in schools has been stretched. So, opportunities for high-level music-making for talented young children are more and more important. That’s what the church choir provides, whether the kids are religious or not.

“There are so few opportunities, it’s important for us that people know that in the eastern part of Suffolk, these opportunities are there for those who are ready to grasp them.

“There will be kids with innate musical talent, who need to have the opportunity to explore it, to grow musically, and to make friends outside their school environment, make friends for life.” 

St Mary le Tower in Ipswich is looking for 'musically talented' young people to join its choir

St Mary le Tower in Ipswich is looking for 'musically talented' young people to join its choir - Credit: St Mary le Tower

Mr Borrett also gives music workshops in state schools. 

He speaks with pride of his choir, who strive for excellence.  

'The Road to Bethlehem' is available from online streaming services Apple Music and Spotify, or from the church in Tower Street.