What does chorister training entail?
Fundamentally, choristers learn their craft by doing it. The younger boys naturally copy their senior colleagues and, singing almost every day of the week, they learn to read music and to manage their voices in the most natural way possible. Obviously it isn’t quite as simple as that and the programme is arranged to give boys weekly individual singing lessons and to teach them the theory they need, but it is always approached in context and with real musical performance in mind.
When will his Choristership end?
Normally boys leave the choir at the end of Year 8 when they move on to their senior school. Occasionally, if voices change earlier than this, a decision might be made to stop singing sooner, but we would always allow a boy to remain at the school with his chorister scholarship until the end of Year 8. Early voice change is something we deal with sensitively. No two boys are alike and we make any decisions about a boy’s future in the choir in close consultation with his parents.
Does the school offer a proper academic curriculum in addition to singing and music?
Yes, absolutely it does! We pride ourselves on the strong academic provision and the evidence of boys’ success when they leave us would suggest that they receive an outstanding foundation upon which to build. See also: Future careers and ISI Inspection Report
What are the financial arrangements for being a Chorister?
The Dean and Chapter of Westminster subsidise the cost of educating the choristers by 80%. We therefore ask the parents to make a contribution of 20% of the overall running costs which roughly covers the board and lodging element. For the current fees please see: Fees. For those for whom this would be an impossible burden there is a trust fund that provides additional bursaries for needy families. Applications for a bursary should be made to the Bursar, Elizabeth Bell: firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens about concerts and touring?
Concerts and occasional overseas tours are an important part of the choir’s annual schedule. We always ensure that they take place at a convenient time in the year and that the workload is manageable for the boys. In the case of overseas concerts, we always try to ensure that there are opportunities of wider educational value in visiting different parts of the world. School staff always accompany the choir and all expenses are covered by the Abbey/concert promoter.
How often do the Choristers perform?
During term time, the boys normally sing Evensong on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In addition they normally sing on alternate Mondays and they sing Matins and Eucharist on Sunday mornings. The schedule often changes, however, and it is worth checking the Abbey website for details.