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Patron: The Duchess of Kent
Chairman: Paul Smith, Hereford Cathedral School
Vice-Chairman: Tim Cannell, The Prebendal School, Chichester
Treasurer: Neil Chippington, St John’s College School, Cambridge
Neil Blundell, Bristol Cathedral Choir School
Nick Robinson, King’s College School, Cambridge
Yvette Day, The Chorister School, Durham
Clare Turnbull, Lanesborough School
Alex Donaldson, Minster School, York
Richard White
Clive Marriott, Salisbury Cathedral School
CSA Full and Associate Members
Blackburn Cathedral
Leicester Cathedral
The King’s School, Peterborough
Bristol Cathedral Choir School
Lichfield Cathedral School
The Portsmouth Grammar School
King’s College School, Cambridge
Lincoln Minster School
Reigate St Mary’s Choir School
St John’s College School, Cambridge
Runnymede St Edward’s School, Liverpool
Ripon Cathedral
St Edmund’s Junior School, Canterbury
St Edward’s College, Liverpool
King’s Rochester Preparatory School
St John’s College, Cardiff
The Cathedral School, Llandaff
Salisbury Cathedral School
St Cedd’s School, Chelmsford
City of London School
Sheffield Cathedral
Dean Close Preparatory School, Cheltenham
The London Oratory School
The Minster School, Southwell
The Prebendal School, Chichester
St Paul’s Cathedral School, London
Polwhele House School, Truro
Croydon Minster
Westminster Abbey Choir School, London
Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield
The Chorister School, Durham
Westminster Cathedral Choir School, London
Wells Cathedral School
St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh
Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester
The Pilgrims’ School, Winchester
King’s Ely Junior, Ely
St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
St George’s School, Windsor
Exeter Cathedral School
Norwich School
St Peter’s Church, Wolverhampton
The King’s School, Gloucester
Christ Church Cathedral School, Oxford
The King’s School, Worcester
Lanesborough School, Guildford
Magdalen College School, Oxford
The Minster School, York
Chapel Royal, Hampton Court
New College School, Oxford
Ampleforth College, York
Hereford Cathedral School
Overseas Members:
St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir School, Dublin
The Cathedral Grammar School, Christchurch, New Zealand
National Cathedral School, Washington DC, USA
St Paul’s Choir School, Cambridge, MA, USA
St Thomas Choir School, New York, USA
The 44 choir schools in the UK are all attached to cathedrals, churches or college chapels and educate over 20,000 pupils, including some 1,300 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. The Government funding, along with other monies in its Bursary Trust Fund, is administered by the CSA. Each application is 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
The Association publishes a newsletter Singing Out – to receive a copy, please contact Jane Capon.
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