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Girl Choristers

The Girl Choristers of Gloucester Cathedral Choir

Gloucester Cathedral Choir has a famous musical tradition dating back almost 500 years and now you have the opportunity to be part of that tradition as a Girl Chorister. This is a wonderful opportunity for talented girls aged 7-14 to form an integral part of the musical worship of the Cathedral.
 
Gloucester Cathedral is committed to equal opportunity and increasing participation for girls to sing as a key element of the musical provision in worship. We believe ‘equal opportunity’ to mean invitation, access and inclusion.
 
We are always pleased to hear from girls who are interested in joining the choir.  If you have lots of enthusiasm, a love of singing and commitment to team playing then this could be just what you are looking for!  Prospective candidates should be aged between seven and twelve.  An audition is required but prior musical training is not necessary as you will receive full training and support if you are selected to join.

Forthcoming auditions

We are always pleased to hear from girls who are interested in joining the choir. 

We are holding voice trials on the afternoon of Saturday 21 April, for places starting in September 2018.  We are specifically interested in hearing girls from current school years 2 & 3.   Prior musical training is not necessarily required, as girls will receive full training and support if they are selected to join.

Interested candidates should email Nia Llewelyn Jones, Conductor of the Girl Choristers for further information, and to register for an audition slot:  choirs@gloucestercathedral.org.uk

The audition process

Auditions will be conducted by the Director of Music and Conductor of the Girl Chorister. In the audition, girls will be required to:

  • sing a prepared song (not a pop or musical theatre song).  A simple song, for example, a hymn, will be fine, as long as your daughter enjoys singing it.   Please bring a copy of the notated music so that we can provide accompaniment on the piano. 
  • undertake aural tests, to demonstrate a good musical ear.
  • if your daughter plays an instrument, she may bring it along to demonstrate her musicality.  Again, please bring an extra copy of the piano accompaniment, if applicable.

We will ask candidates to read a passage of text.  We are sympathetic to a few nerves – please be assured that we will support all candidates as much as we can!  Candidates will be notified of the audition outcome within a week of the audition date. 

Membership, commitments and opportunities

Members are drawn from a number of local schools.  The girls enjoy making music with like-minded friends whom they may not have encountered outside the choir.  The girls, now in their second full year as Cathedral Choristers, sing a weekly service each Monday during term time, and have two additional rehearsals, on Thursdays, after school, and Saturday lunchtimes.

Term-time routine

Mondays:      4.30pm – 6.10pm     Rehearsal and Evensong 

Thursdays:    4.30pm – 6.00pm     Rehearsal

Saturdays:     11.15am – 1.00pm   Rehearsal

Theory lessons are held before Monday and Thursday rehearsals from 4.00pm.  Additionally, the girls sing some Evensong services on Saturday afternoons alongside the Lay Clerks.  They also sing at high profile services over Christmas and Easter, as well as events in the diocese and even further afield.  A full Schedule of events and commitments is issued to all chorister families.

The Choral Experience

Girl Choristers have the opportunity to embark on a unique and exhilarating musical education, standing them in good stead for future musical pursuits.  They have the thrill of singing in one of the great Mediaeval Cathedrals of Europe, and its spectacular acoustic.  They also benefit from the inimitable esprit-de-corps of being part of the Cathedral Choir. 

Additionally, the girls benefit from:

  • subsidised music theory lessons given by our professional music staff, to help develop the girls’ knowledge of the workings of music. This will include the possibility of undertaking exams and will be invaluable should they wish to pursue music at a higher academic level.
  • subsidised singing lessons given by a leading visiting singing teacher, providing them with solid vocal technique, and support to develop their capabilities as singers.

Being a chorister is a vast commitment, not only for the choristers themselves, but for family members, guardians and friends who may be expected to transport the girls to and from the Cathedral three times a week.  It is not a light undertaking, and families are expected to commit entirely to the schedule, which may involve sacrificing or being flexible with other extra-curricular activities, family events and social occasions.  This is in order to create and nurture musical excellence.

Interested candidates should email Nia Llewelyn Jones, Conductor of the Girl Choristers for further information, and for details of any forthcoming audition slots:  choirs@gloucestercathedral.org.uk

Questions & Answers

How can a girl gain a place as a girl chorister?

Admission follows a successful audition with the Director of Music and the Conductor of the Girl Choristers.  Please email Nia Llewelyn Jones: nia.jones@gloucestercathedral.org.uk  to register interest.

What age do girls need to be to audition to join the choir?

We are currently looking to recruit girls in current school years 2 or 3.  Girls will be assessed in a friendly and supportive way, relative to their age.

How many places are available?

There are 20 places on offer at any given time, spread across the age bracket.  We will always be interested in recruiting new ‘probationer’ choristers who will in the first instance attend rehearsals to learn the necessary skills to become full choristers in due course.

What sort of family might fit in at Gloucester Cathedral?

Families will come from all walks of life, and from many different backgrounds.

What qualities would make a prospective girl chorister flourish?

Enthusiasm, a love of singing, musical potential and commitment to team playing.  Do not worry about prior musical training – girls with potential will be nurtured within the choir.

What if we are unsure about entering for an audition?

Please contact Nia Llewelyn Jones: nia.jones@gloucestercathedral.org.uk for an informal discussion about the audition process and the necessary commitments required to join the choir. 

What if my daughter is unsuccessful at an audition?

Places are competitive; some girls may be better suited to joining the Cathedral Junior Choir.  The CJC commitments are less but there is still a wonderful range of opportunities to sing in the Cathedral.  After a spell in the Junior Choir, she may re-audition as a Girl Chorister. Older girls may be more suited to joining the Cathedral’s thriving Youth Choir. 

What is the weekly pattern of term-time commitments for successful girls?

Mondays:  Rehearsal and Evensong (Upper Voices), 4.30pm - 6.10pm

Thursdays:  Rehearsal, 4.30pm - 6.00pm

Saturdays:  Rehearsal, 11.15pm - 1.00pm

Theory lessons are held before Monday and Thursday rehearsals from 4.00pm.  There will be additional commitments at high profile events throughout the Christian year.   All extra events will be published in a special schedule for members of the choir.

What about absences?

In order to nurture and maintain musical excellence it is essential that girls and their families commit fully to the weekly schedule.  It will be hard work, but all worthwhile!  We will, naturally, be sympathetic to illness, but families may have to make sacrifices with regard to other activities and events.

Will we have to pay to join the choir?

No – the Cathedral will provide all necessities, including:

  • music and robes
  • subsidised theory and singing tuition within the termly timetable

What if a girl is not coping?

All girls will need to demonstrate their commitment and evidence musical development during an initial probationary period.  They will be supported and encouraged by the music staff to fulfil their potential.  Parents/guardians will be kept up to date with their child’s progress.

Do you have to be religious to join?

No – we simply ask that individuals and families are sympathetic to the aims and objectives of the Anglican Church.

What safeguarding procedures will be in place to protect the children?

All members of staff with whom the girls have contact are fully DBS checked and have undertaken safeguarding training. A safeguarding timetable will be in place to ensure that the girls are properly supervised at all times.

There will always be a trained first aider amongst the music staff. 

Will the commitment be worth it?

Absolutely!  A girl will benefit from:

  • a first-rate musical education standing them in good stead for the rest of their lives
  • wonderful performance opportunities within and outside the Cathedral
  • the opportunity to be a part of a unique musical team and the friendship, discipline and responsibility that all result from this.

Moreover, they will have a lot of fun in the process!

We are grateful to the following organisations for their generous support of the Girl Choristers:

The Ouseley Church Music Trust
- The Mercers Charitable Foundation
- The Sir Michael McWilliam Foundation