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Patron: The Duchess of Kent
Chairman: Neil Chippington, St John’s College School, Cambridge
Vice-Chairs: Yvette Day, King’s College School, Cambridge; Clive Marriott, Salisbury Cathedral School
William Goldsmith, St George's School Windsor
Simon Larter-Evans, St Paul's Choir School, London
Paul Smith, Hereford Cathedral School
Clare Turnbull, Lanesborough School, Guildford
Richard White, Director of Development
Ian Wicks, The Chorister School, Durham
CSA Full and Associate Members
Blackburn Cathedral
Lanesborough School, Guildford
Runnymede St Edward’s School, Liverpool
Bristol Cathedral Choir School
Leicester Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral School
The Cathedral School, Llandaff
Lichfield Cathedral School
Sheffield Cathedral
Chapel Royal, Hampton Court
Lincoln Cathedral
St Cedd’s School, Chelmsford
Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester
Lincoln Minster School
St Edmund’s Junior School, Canterbury
The Chorister School, Durham
The London Oratory School
St Edward’s College, Liverpool
Christ Church Cathedral School, Oxford
Magdalen College School, Oxford
St George’s School, Windsor
City of London School
The Minster School, Southwell
St John’s College School, Cambridge
Croydon Minster
The Minster School, York
St John’s College, Cardiff
Dean Close Preparatory School, Cheltenham
New College School, Oxford
St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh
Exeter Cathedral School
Norwich School
St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Hereford Cathedral School
The Old Palace School, Croydon
St Paul’s Cathedral School, London
King’s College School, Cambridge
The Pilgrims’ School, Winchester
St Peter’s Church, Wolverhampton
King’s Ely Junior, Ely
The Portsmouth Grammar School
Wells Cathedral School
King’s Rochester Preparatory School
The Prebendal School, Chichester
Westminster Abbey Choir School, London
The King’s School, Gloucester
Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield
Westminster Cathedral Choir School, London
The King’s School, Peterborough
Reigate St Mary’s Choir School
Whitgift School, Croydon
The King’s School, Worcester
Ripon Cathedral
St Thomas Choir School, New York, USA
The Choir Schools’ Association celebrated its Centenary in 2018.
44 schools in the UK educate some or all the choristers at cathedrals, churches or college chapels all over the country. Between them they educate more than 25,000 pupils, including some 1,200 choristers. Westminster Abbey Choir School is the only school to educate choristers and probationers only. The Association’s associate membership includes cathedrals and churches without choir schools.
Choir schools offer a very special opportunity for children who enjoy singing. They receive a first-class academic and all-round education combined with excellent music training. The experience and self-discipline choristers acquire remain with them for life. There is a wide range of schools: some cater for children aged 7–13, others are junior schools with senior schools to 18; most are Church of England but the Roman Catholic, Scottish and Welsh churches are all represented.
Most CSA members are fee-paying schools and Deans and Chapters provide fee assistance while Government support comes in the shape of the Choir Schools’ Scholarship Scheme. Under the umbrella of the Music and Dance Scheme, funds are available to help those who cannot afford even the reduced school fees. Government funding through the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS), along with other monies in its Bursary Trust Fund, is administered by the CSA. Applications are means-tested and an award made once a child has secured a place at a choir school.
Each CSA member school has its own admissions procedure for choristers. However, every child will be assessed both musically and academically. A growing number of children are given informal voice tests which enable the organist or director of music to judge whether they have the potential to become choristers. Some are offered places immediately or will be urged to enter the more formal voice trial organised by the school. In some cases a family may be advised not to proceed. Alternatively, the child’s voice may be more suitable for one of the other choir schools.
A number of special ingredients help make a good chorister: potential, a keen musical ear and an eagerness to sing. A clutch of music examination certificates is not vital – alertness and enthusiasm are! At the same time, school staff must be satisfied that a new recruit can cope with school work and the many other activities on offer as well as the demanding choir workload.
To find out more about choir schools please visit the CSA website: www.choirschools.org.uk
CSA members can be contacted direct or you can write, email or telephone for further information about choir schools to:
Jane Capon, Information Officer, Village Farm, The Street, Market Weston, Diss, Norfolk IP22 2NZ
Telephone: 01359 221333; email: info@choirschools.org.uk
Mrs Susan Rees, Administrator, 39 Grange Close, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9RS
Telephone: 01962 890530; email: admin@choirschools.org.uk