The Girl Choristers of the Cathedral Choir regularly sing at Evensong during the week, and at Sunday services. They attend rehearsals at the Minster and at school, and rehearse together before each service, often singing with the Lay Clerks. All of our Girl Choristers are educated at Southwell Minster School, a Church of England Academy just a short walk from the Minster.
Girls typically begin their journey as choristers either when they enter the Junior School or when they enter the Senior School at school year 7 (age 11). The Junior School exists to educate musically gifted boys and girls, and comprises 40 students across four year-groups. Here, the Junior Girl Choristers enjoy a normal school life alongside enhanced musical input. They receive free singing lessons as well as instrumental lessons supported by the school and the Minster, and are taught music theory. Upon entry to the Senior School, Girl Choristers are still well supported by the Minster, continuing to receive free vocal and instrumental tuition.
All choristers learn to sing well, and to read music. There is an emphasis on music theory, and as they progress through the choir they continue to develop their musical skills. In addition they learn about the church year and the services at which they sing, so as to give them a full understanding of their role as a chorister.
Together with their chorister duties, girls are given the tools to appreciate and perform music, and take with them the qualities of teamwork, leadership, organisation and confidence, as well as a whole host of other skills. Girl choristers leave the choir when their time at school comes to an end, often having achieved well at A-level and subsequently going to University, but they are encouraged to keep in touch through the Old Choristers’ Association and the Choir Association, or by engaging with other activities in the Minster.
The life of a Girl Chorister at Southwell Minster is busy, but rewarding. As well as the regular duties, highlights of the year include Christmas carol services at which hundreds of people are present, and the annual St Cecilia concert in the autumn. In addition, the girls take part in concerts with outside organisations, are known for their annual performance of Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, they broadcast on radio and television, make recordings, and tour internationally.
If you know of anyone who may be interested in becoming a Girl Chorister at Southwell Minster, please contact Simon Hogan on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.