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RSCM Headquarters moving to Sarum College, Salisbury

Salisbury Cathedral
(John Constable)

Sarum CollegeArticle by Pat Ashworth in the Church Times, January 21st 2005

The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) is to move its base in May 2006 from Dorking to Salisbury, where it will share the facilities of Sarum College. It is the second move in a decade for the RSCM, which relocated from Croydon in 1996 when its low-rent lease on Addington Palace expired. Cleveland Lodge, home of the organist Susi Jeans, was given to the school with the proviso that it remained an active centre of music-making. The RSCM had a large working deficit and received a capital grant of more than £1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the building for training and conference purposes. A separate appeal raised a further £620,000.

Effective use of the RSCM's resources was behind the new move, said its director general, Professor John Harper, on Wednesday. 'Our members are widely distributed through the UK and abroad. Having a substantial property in the south-east of England wasn't necessarily the best way of using that resource, especially when we've just launched two big programmes and are about to launch a third.' The experience of the past decade, which included severe cut-backs in 2002, had brought recognitiion that the organisation needed to 'travel light' as it addressed both the short-term and long-term interests of church music, said Dr. Harper.

The RSCM, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2002, has 6,000 affiliated churches and choirs, and more than 3,000 individual members and supporters in more than 40 countries. Sarum will have the flexibility of residence, greatly missed in the move from Addington Palace, especially by overseas members. 'It's going to be really good to be in an environment with people who are involved in theology and with ministry training, which are clearly complementary to all the work we're doing,' said Dr Harper, who described the RSCM as now having 'a real energy' throughout the organisation. Its main challenge remained in addressing the bredth of church music in its response to contemporary culture and in all sorts of very different church situations, he said.

Sir David Harrison, chairman of the RSCM Council, also welcomed the move, especially the benefits of working in the same building as another educational organisation. 'This will greatly support and enrich the work of the RSCM, as will the proximity to the cathedral and other churches in and around Salisbury, and to a range of nearby schools and colleges,' he said.
Pat Ashworth, Church Times, January 21st 2005. Reproduced with permission.

Joint Statement from the Councils of the RSCM and Sarum College
The councils of the Royal School of Church Music and of Sarum College are pleased to announce a strategic agreement between the two organisations.

Both the RSCM and Sarum College are ecumenical and fully committed to open, life-long learning. The RSCM’s work of church music training and education is assisted in the UK and in over 40 countries throughout the world by co-ordinated teams of volunteers and by 9,000 affiliated churches, schools, and individuals. Sarum College’s work in theology and Christian learning is undertaken principally at the college in Salisbury, but draws on an international network of tutors, visiting scholars and participants. Both organisations, with their strong commitment to outreach and educational opportunity, wish to take advantage of the potential for educational collaboration and cross-fertilisation that proximity of location will offer, building on their self-evident synergy and complementarity.

The Royal School of Church Music will move its offices to Sarum College, Salisbury, in 2006. The RSCM and Sarum College will continue to work as independent organisations, each with its own mission and programmes; however, both will share common prayer and table at Sarum College, and will be exploring opportunities for complementary and shared initiatives in the future.


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