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York Minster seeking new boy choristers for its world-famous choir

31 Jan, 2023

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York Minster and St Peter’s School York, are searching for school boys, currently in Year 3, to audition for the internationally-renowned Choir of York Minster and the chance to receive an outstanding education at St Peter’s School, York, starting in September this year. Formal singing experience is not required for the auditions, a love of singing is all that is needed.

The Choir of York Minster is made up of 16 boys, 16 girls and 12 adult singers. The new boy choristers will be part of a talented team of singers whose voices are an essential part of worship at the cathedral.

Choristers perform at services, high profile occasions, events and concerts. In November of last year, York Minster’s choristers had the chance to meet and perform for His Majesty the King and the Queen Consort. They also take part in broadcasts for national media organisations such as BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, recordings for classical music labels and tour abroad. The choristers are trained by Robert Sharpe, Director of Music at York Minster.

The auditions held earlier this year resulted in a full complement of girl choristers, but some spaces remain unfilled for the boys. Robert Sharpe said that he is keen to make sure that the boys remain at full strength.

He said: “There will be many families in York and the wider region with a son who absolutely loves singing and who might just be one of the boys that we are looking for. Previous experience of singing in a choir or group situation is absolutely not necessary.

“Parent and carers need not be daunted by the audition process nor by the commitment involved. At this stage we are looking to identify boys with musicality and potential, rather than recruiting a fully-formed singer. Energy, enthusiasm and a great sense of humour are just as important as musical talent and the time spent singing quickly becomes part of a child’s well-being and enjoyment.

“In addition to developing their musical skills, training as a chorister helps children to develop lifelong skills such as self-discipline, being organised, concentration, poise and attention to detail. This is a unique opportunity for a boy to have a superb education and to play a part in the life of one of the most important and beautiful cathedrals in the world.”

York Minster’s choristers receive an excellent education at award-winning St Peter’s School, TES Independent School of the Year in 2021. St Peter’s is the fourth oldest school in the world, sharing its foundation with York Minster in 627AD with exciting plans being developed for the 1,400th anniversary in 2027. The Chapter of York provides a significant bursary for each chorister and families are supported through applications for means-tested funding which potentially increases the level of funding to 100%.

Commenting on the search for new boy choristers, Jeremy Walker, Head Master of St Peter’s School, York said:

“The wonderful experience of being a chorister at York Minster, combined with an outstanding education at St Peter’s, offers excellent and often life-changing opportunities for girls and boys with musical talents and interests.  I have first-hand appreciation of the incredible experience this provides, as a former chorister parent myself and Head Master of two cathedral choir schools, and encourage you and your families to find out more and consider an application.”

The new choristers will join the Choir of York Minster from September 2023. Parents are encouraged to make enquiries with St Peter’s as soon as possible. Full details can be found on the school’s website: www.stpetersyork.org.uk

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