The Choristers at Wells Cathedral consist of eighteen boys and eighteen girls. These two separate choirs take it in turns to sing with the Vicars Choral, and occasionally perform on their own. All Choristers are educated at Wells Cathedral School. Scholarships and additional bursaries are available to assist with fees.
Choristers usually enter the choir in Year 4 or Year 5 (8 or 9 years old), but this can vary, and we welcome enquiries about entry in year. Choristers usually leave the choir at the end of Year 9 (14 years old), or when a boy’s voice changes.
Year 3 pupils may take part in a ‘pre-probationer’ year-long introductory programme; they undertake a reduced schedule of duties, allowing them to adapt to the life of a Chorister more gradually.
The Choir is at the heart of the worshipping life of Wells Cathedral, and sings every day during term time. Choristers rehearse each morning before school. They alternate singing Evensong during the week, share the services at weekends, and take part in special services at Easter and Christmas.
Choristers have a great many opportunities, including participating in international tours, commercial recordings, radio and television broadcasts, major festivals, and much more! The Choir has an extensive repertoire from sixteenth century to present day music, and has premiered works by some of today’s finest composers including Bob Chilcott, Jonathan Dove, Gabriel Jackson, John Rutter and many more.
On average, Choristers receive around 50% off their school fees, with some receiving considerably more than this, depending on financial circumstances. All Choristers automatically benefit from a 25% discount on tuition fees and a 50% discount on boarding fees, and may also be considered for further bursaries and financial assistance. In addition, once pupils have finished their time in the Choir, they receive a discount worth 5% of their school fees for each year they were in the Choir, worth up to 20%, for the rest of their time at the School. This allows them to maintain continuity of education after Choristership, as well as accessing all the many benefits of Wells Cathedral School for the GCSE and A level years. (See “Money Matters” below.)
The Choristers gain first-class training in singing and choral music, and have incredible musical experiences – such as recitals, broadcasts, recordings and tours – while also benefiting from an outstanding education, and being able to take part in other co-curricular activities.
Working as part of a close-knit team, the children learn how to organise their time and develop essential life skills. They also become more confident and self-reliant. Many former Choristers come back to tell us how influential their time in the choir was:
“Without those wonderful years as a Chorister I am certain I would not be where I am today.”
– David Buckley, Emmy-nominated composer for TV and film
Experiencing and contributing to Cathedral worship nurtures a Chorister’s spirituality and helps them grow in their understanding of the Christian faith. In addition to all of this, the Choristers develop close friendships and above all, have lots of fun! Watch the video below to hear what the Choristers love about their experience in the Choir.
If you would like to experience a day in the life of a Chorister, please come along to this fun day that takes place on the third Saturday of September each year, during which children aged 7 – 9 years old are invited to spend a day at Wells Cathedral.
For more information click here.
On average, Choristers receive around 50% off their School fees, with some receiving considerably more than this, depending on financial circumstances.
The School, Wells Cathedral, and its fundraising Chorister Trust do all they can to ensure that Wells Cathedral Choir is as inclusive as possible to children who show the necessary potential, irrespective of the financial circumstances of their families.
There are a number of ways that families can get help with fees:
Please get in touch if you have any money-related enquiries, and we will be very pleased indeed to talk to you.
Wells Cathedral Chorister Trust exists to help young singers from any background to contribute to a cathedral tradition that has endured for more than a thousand years; to train in a world-class musical environment, and to enjoy a unique all-round education at Wells Cathedral School, be they day-pupils or boarders.
The aim of the Chorister Trust is to create an endowment fund to provide bursaries for talented children so none is barred from this opportunity for financial reasons. We want to give the opportunity for choral training and an excellent education to more people from a wider range of backgrounds throughout the UK.
For further information, please visit the Wells Cathedral Chorister Trust website.
All candidates should have a clear voice, a good vocal range and a quick musical ear. We look for a love of singing, as well as an eagerness to learn and the will to be committed. We are not looking for the finished article but for potential, and we have found that many parents and guardians are unaware of their child’s undeveloped singing talent!
We are looking for alert and keen children who have an interest in music and who love to sing. It is important that being a Chorister is something that the child wants to do and is going to enjoy day in, day out.
Finally, the support of parents and family is vital in nurturing a happy and successful Chorister. It is a busy and demanding life, and requires a lot of commitment, but the rewards and benefits are unparalleled.
Enquiries are welcome from pupils aged 7-13.
There is no official closing date for applications, but we strongly recommend that you book as early in the academic year as possible to avoid disappointment as slots tend to fill up.
The first step is to arrange a pre-audition in order to be considered for September entry the following year by contacting our admissions team on 01749 834441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We then invite successful pre-audition candidates to attend our voice trials and sit
academic entrance assessments. All successful candidates are automatically considered for a choral scholarship.
If you and your children would like an informal discussion about becoming a Chorister, then please get in touch! Staff at the School and the Cathedral are always delighted to speak to any interested families.
Please contact our admissions team on 01749 834441 or by email to email@example.com.