The Choristers

Choristers


The Choristers of Wells Cathedral

About the Choristers

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.

 

 

Benefits of being a Chorister

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. (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.

 

 

 

Be a Chorister for a Day

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.

 

Money Matters

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: 

  • All Boy and Girl Choristers receive a non means-tested Choral Scholarship worth 25% off tuition fees during their time in the Choir.
  • All Choristers can also choose to benefit from a 50% discount on boarding fees.
  • The School also offers a 10% remission on school fees for a pre-probationary year (see below).
  • 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.
  • Further means-tested financial awards (bursaries) may be available both from the School and from other trusts. Staff from the School and the Cathedral will assist families throughout this process.

 

Please get in touch if you have any money-related enquiries, and we will be very pleased indeed to talk to you.

 

What are we looking for?

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.

 

How to Apply

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 admissions@wells.cathedral.school.

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. 

 

Find out more

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 admissions@wells.cathedral.school.

Listen to our Music