Cathedral on look-out for budding choristers

By Dr Christopher McElroy

Summer term is traditionally our time for recruitment. Our boy and girl choristers each serve around five or six years singing. Many of them then move onto our Youth Choir, enabling them to continue contributing to the musical life of the Cathedral.
The age range of our boy choristers is 7 to 12 or 13, and for our girls it is between 10 and 16. Eagle-eyed readers will note that while the boys and girls both serve around five or six years, the boys usually start their choristership at 7 years old, and the girls at 10.

The reason for this is biological. Boys' voices will begin to change around the age of 12 or 13, transitioning from a high-pitched voice to a lower-pitched voice. Once this transition is complete, a boy can no longer sing the high notes of a treble, so then usually takes the opportunity to join the Youth Choir as a tenor or bass (the lower male voice parts in a four-part choir). Girls do not have a voice change like boys. Their voices remain high-pitched generally throughout their life.
During the pandemic, the Cathedral has put a great deal of effort into engaging with our choristers (largely on Zoom) to ensure their continued musical, spiritual and educational development. However, nothing can replace choristers who are steeped in four or five years of singing the Opus Dei (Work of God) at the daily choral services in the Cathedral. A significant challenge during the coming weeks, months and years will be to restore the choir to the pre-pandemic routine of daily choral singing at Cathedral liturgies.
On 22/23 June we will be holding our annual voice trials (auditions) for new choristers to begin here at the Cathedral in September. We are looking for boys currently in Years 2/3 (and who will be in Years 3/4 in September) and girls currently in Year 5 (and who will be in Year 6 in September). What's more, we are looking for children who enjoy singing, enjoy working with others, seek to excel on a daily basis and show some musical aptitude. In return, the Cathedral seeks to provide the very best musical education along with unique opportunities to take part in numerous liturgies, concerts, tours and broadcasts on radio and TV.
If you know of a boy or girl who might be interested, please direct them to the Cathedral website where they will be able to find out more details and book a voice trial.