Worcester†Cathedral Voluntary Choir

HISTORY

Worcester is unique among English Cathedrals in still having a Voluntary Choir made up of boys and men. The Choir was established in October 1874 principally to sing at the then new Sunday Nave Service at 6.30pm and to deputise for the Cathedral Choir during school holidays. Many of the original aims, intentions and duties remain the same today.

THE ADMISSION PROCEDURE

The Choir seeks to provide boys from a variety of schools and backgrounds with a quality musical education. Currently the Choir has 18 boys ranging in age from 7 to almost 14 from over 10 schools both in and outside Worcestershire.

Each boy receives a short informal audition with the Choirmaster (who is also the Cathedral's Assistant Organist) to assess his musical ear and vocal potential. No prepared piece need be brought, although if a hymn or song is well known by all means bring it along. There are no entrance requirements as such; however most of the boys learn a musical instrument or two.

DUTIES, HIGHLIGHTS AND HOLIDAYS

The weekly pattern is as follows:

Tuesdays †††††††††7-8pm†Boys' rehearsal and training

Fridays ††††††††††††7-8.30pm†Boys' rehearsal†
7.30-8.50pm† Men's rehearsal

Sundays † † † † ††5.30pm†Full†Rehearsal

†††††††††††††††††††††††6.30pm†Cathedral Service (usually Evensong or Eucharist)

In addition, the Choir sings at some of the Sunday 10.30am Eucharists and 4pm Evensongs, and at a variety of the larger Services throughout the year including the Christmas Midnight Eucharist, the Epiphany Carol Service and Harvest Festival.

The Choir takes August as a holiday and, in addition, the boys have a break after Christmas, before or after Easter and a clear weekend in each Half-Term.

THE SOCIAL SIDE

The Choir enjoys a very active social life. There are regular events for the boys and their families as well as a variety of functions which also involve the men of the Choir and members of the Cathedral clergy and congregation.

LIFE IN THE CHOIR

Naturally, the boys aspire to various goals and in particular to internal promotion. When a boy joins the Choir he will generally spend a year as a probationer learning the ropes, although he will participate fully in all that goes on. He is then formally admitted as a Chorister at a special ceremony and is able to wear a surplice. At the other end of the Choir there is a Head Chorister and a Deputy together with the Head Librarian and his Assistants. A number of the boys also hold RSCM medals - the Dean's and Bishop's awards and the Gold Award. These all require additional training sessions.

BURSARIES

Up to two bursaries and two Edgar Day scholarships are awarded each year to assist with music tuition, which may be on any instrument including voice. Applications are welcome for these bursaries, which are awarded on merit and financial need.

PERSONNEL

Justin Miller†- Choirmaster (Cathedral Sub-Assistant Organist)

John Wilderspin - Organist and Secretary

Christopher Allsop - Cathedral Assistant Director of Music and Assistant Organist

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