Being a chorister at Westminster Cathedral is an extraordinary opportunity for Roman Catholic boys aged between 8 and 13 (Years 4 to 8).
In addition to their world-class musical training in the Cathedral Choir, the choristers receive a first-rate education at Westminster Cathedral Choir School where they enjoy a well-rounded school experience in the company of nearly 250 day boys.
The Westminster Cathedral choristers come from a wide range of backgrounds. They form lasting friendships with their fellow choristers, with whom they board at the School five nights a week, as well as maintaining strong relationships with their families by spending Saturdays at home. They leave the choir with an outstanding musical training and the majority go on to secure prestigious music scholarships at some of the country’s leading public schools.
The choristers are the heart of the choir; their distinctive sound is a major part of what makes Westminster Cathedral Choir unique.
A Day in the Life of a Cathedral Chorister
The life of a chorister is demanding but enormously fulfilling. The boys rehearse at the beginning and end of the school day, and they sing seven services a week within the daily liturgical life of the Cathedral. All the choristers learn the piano and an orchestral instrument, giving breadth and perspective to their musical education. The choristers’ routine is carefully monitored to ensure a good balance of musical training, academic work, sports and leisure time – they have great fun in the boarding house in the evenings!
During their first year, the choristers-to-be are known as probationers. They spend a year learning about the choir’s repertoire, gaining familiarity with both conventional notation and plainchant, developing a good vocal technique, and learning the sight-reading skills that will set them up for chorister life. Boys are usually admitted as full members of the choir at the start of their second year.
The choir’s musical life is enriched by frequent concerts and overseas tours, including performances of large-scale works in the Cathedral, as well as regular recording sessions.
Want to Find out More?
The Cathedral Choir School runs a series of Open Mornings each year, which are an ideal way to find out more about chorister life, with no obligation. To find out more, please email Lucy Auger at the Choir School or call 02077989081.