Anglican Dean of Perth John Shepherd has called on a friend in high places to achieve his dream of establishing a song school for the St George’s Cathedral choir. The dream will become reality this year when construction starts on the $3 million music school, funded by wealthy British aristocrat Earl Cadogan. Charles Gerald John Cadogan is the 8th Earl Cadogan and belongs to one of Britain’s most prominent real estate dynasties, with an estimated worth of $6.67 billion. The family have owned more than 36ha of property across exclusive West London neighbourhoods Chelsea and Knightsbridge for more that 300 years.
Dr Shepherd met Earl Cadogan through Oxford University more than 10 years ago and they have been friends since. He sought funding from his friend when he visited Perth several years ago.
“I said, ‘We need a new music school’. I asked him if he would fund it and he said yes” he said. “He’s a great friend and he’s very generous and this project caught his imagination.”
Dr Shepard, who retires in July, is a passionate supporter of music and the arts and said the Cathedral’s choir – led by Joseph Nolan – was internationally renowned and its concert series was one of the premier music events in Perth.
“Joseph Nolan is doing a fantastic job, but they don’t have a choir rehearsal room, so this is it” he said. “it will be one of Perth’s most important architectural features.”
Kevin Palassis, of Palassis Architects, has designed the two level building, which features white concrete arches and a spire. It will sit between the Deanery and Burt Memorial Hall alongside the Cathedral on St Georges Terrace. Once construction on the school starts, it is expected to take about 12 months.
Originally published in: The Weekend West on the 10-11th of May, 2014