A unique musical education
Our choir offers children the opportunity to be part of the centuries-old tradition of English church music that is envied the world over. Our choristers receive a thorough training in music, with free singing and music theory tuition.
As a former chorister I appreciate the benefits which singing brings. It teaches you lots of skills and provides opportunities which help, enrich and sustain you throughout life. There is nothing equal to the joy of performing wonderful music with like-minded people.
Choristers gain experience singing alongside our adults both on ‘home turf’ at St Michael’s and on regular visits to cathedrals. They sing music from around the world, covering over a thousand years from early chants to contemporary music by living composers!
Most importantly, choristers develop the key life skills of:
- self-discipline and responsibility
- commitment to others as part of a professional team
- time management
- high standards and a sense of achievement
…if you want to be sure that the lad will mature into a truly redoubtable pillar of the male community, you need to put him in the church choir.[…] If you’re in a really tight spot and all hope seems to be lost, you want to be sharing the blood-spattered shell hole with a chap who once sang the solo in Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s Blessed be the God and Father. He’s your man.
I was a choirboy, and so were all the best people I know.
It teaches you to be independent. It was bloody hard work. […] The concentration was the best thing about it. […] My batting has probably got a lot of what went into the choir.
Our choristers follow the RSCM’s Voice for Life training scheme. Colin (St Michael’s Director of Music) is an experienced teacher and former Programme Manager for Voice for Life around the world. He’s helped by a team of experienced choir members – some of who are also professional musicians and experienced teachers.
Everyone involved in training our younger singers is checked in accordance with the parish’s safeguarding policy
What does it cost?
Membership is absolutely free. Some of the trips we do will have an associated cost, but we try to subsidise these where possible, and we often get group rates.
Is it a big commitment?
Compared to a cathedral choir, it’s really not a big commitment! Our routine is much more manageable, but after a trial period we do expect our members to be committed to attending every week unless it’s absolutely unavoidable (e.g. illness).
Our normal routine is:
- Choir practice: Wednesdays 6.30 – 7.45
- Sunday morning service: 9.30 – 11.15
(first and third Sunday of each month)
- Occasional services like weddings (paid!)
- Occasional concerts to raise funds etc
We don’t sing in the school holidays after Christmas and Easter, or at all in the summer holidays. There are no Wednesday practices during holidays or half-terms (although we do sing on Ash Wednesday, even when that falls in half term).
Who can join?
Choristers are usually in school years 3–9 (age 7–14). Prior experience and musical skills are not necessary, and children do not need to have a religious background. We only look for enthusiasm and musical potential. After year 9, choristers normally rehearse and sing with the adult members of the choir.
What’s the next step?
If you’d like to discuss the choir further, come and see us on a Sunday or email Colin, who is always very happy to have an informal chat with parents.