Choristers at St Michael’s

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.

— Ed Sheeran

Choristers gain experience singing alongside our adults both on ‘home turf’ at St Michael’s and on occasional visits to cathedrals and concerts. 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’re interested in getting a flavour for what the choir does, why not come to one of our half-term singing days? These run regularly, usually on the Friday of half-term.

…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.

— James May


Choristers with Voice for Life certificates

Choristers receive their Voice for Life certificates

Our choristers follow the RSCM’s Voice for Life training scheme. Rachel Harper (St Michael’s acting Director of Music) is an experienced teacher with comprehensive knowledge of the Voice for Life programme. She’s helped by a team of experienced choir members – some of whom also work professionally in music and teaching.

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 practice every week unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.

Choristers bowling

Choristers bowling on a choir outing

Our normal routine is:

  • Choir practice: Wednesdays 6.55 – 7.45
  • Sunday morning service (including rehearsal): 9.30 – 11.15 (first and third Sunday of each month only)
  • 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.

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 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 (Wednesdays 7.30-9pm).

Singing is good for children’s health, cognitive and social development – singing is good for your child’s future!

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.

— Alastair Cook

What’s the next step?

If you’d like to discuss the choir further, come and see us on a Sunday or email us. We’re always very happy to have an informal chat with parents.