The Choir celebrated its 1100th birthday in 2009: boys first sang at Wells Cathedral in 909 and the full choral tradition dates back over 800 years. In 1994, Wells Cathedral became one of the first to launch a girls’ choir. Today, the Cathedral Choir, considered to be one of the finest in the world, consists of eighteen boys and eighteen girl choristers (two separate choirs) and twelve men known as the Vicars Choral.
The choir was recognised by Gramophone Magazine as the greatest choir with children in the world, and the sixth greatest overall.
The choristers receive scholarships to sing in the choir, gaining first-class training in singing and choral music but also benefiting from all the usual curricular and co-curricular activities. Whilst working as part of a close-knit team, the children develop a sense of self-discipline and self-reliance.
The choir sings every day in Wells Cathedral during term time; choristers rehearse each morning before school. They alternate singing Evensong during the week, share the services on weekends, and take part in special services at Easter and Christmas.
The Choir also sings at major festivals and has an extensive repertoire from all historical periods. Alongside Cathedral services, the choir performs recitals, national radio and television broadcasts and regular international tours as well as recording CDs.
Wells Cathedral is always looking for keen and musical young singers to audition for both boy and girl chorister places. Wells Cathedral School, well known for its excellent facilities and Specialist Music Scheme, has scholarships available.
If you are currently in school years 3 to 6 and are interested in finding out more about life as a Wells Cathedral Chorister, we would love to hear from you. Pre-auditions can be arranged in advance of the main auditions each January. Please contact our admissions team on [email protected] or 01749 834213.
Chorister Voice Trials are usually held in January for entry the following September. The Voice Trial is held in the morning with academic tests in the afternoon. The chorister programme is sent out on application and precise details of the trials are sent out a week before the trials are held. The Head of the Junior School is always happy to discuss chorister entry.
If you want to experience a day in the life of a chorister, this is a fun day that takes place on the second Saturday of October each year, when children aged 7 – 9 years old are invited to spend a day at Wells Cathedral. The day includes singing games, learning about the cathedral and finding out what a Chorister really does. Lunch is provided, and at the end of the day the children sing Evensong with the Cathedral Choir. In the afternoon parents can take a tour of the school if they wish, and have afternoon tea in the historic Vicars’ Hall before the Evensong service.
If you are interested in taking part in the next event, please contact the Cathedral Music Office via [email protected] or on 01749 674483.