ABOUT THE CHOIR SCHOOL
The Choir School is a unique set-up rarely seen outside of UK Cathedrals. It offers the Junior Choir members a broad musical education and social experience alongside their singing.
As well as rehearsing the music for the church services, the choristers are tutored in music theory, working towards qualifications from the RSCM Voice for Life Scheme from the internally assessed Light Blue, Dark Blue and Red Ribbon levels, to the externally assessed Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. They are also given 1:1 singing lessons from the Director of Music and the Chorister Tutor. There is also opportunity for the choristers to take ABRSM Qualifications in Theory and Singing. All this gives them the best understanding of the music that they sing for the church services.
The Choir School meets on Friday evenings at 4pm and runs until 6.50pm, where there is a ten minute break before the combined choirs rehearse from 7pm – 7.30pm. The choristers are provided with a hot dinner before a short social time. Between the gap when most Bury schools finish on a Friday afternoon and the 4pm start for Choir School, a Youth Café is run by the Church Youth Worker and Music Team. This is held at the West end of the Church itself in The House on the Rock Café, and all choristers are welcome to attend this, whether to play games, do homework, or simply chill out and have a drink before Choir School begins.
It does not cost anything to join and be a part of the Choir School, apart from regular commitment, and the choristers are even paid ‘fees’ for their work in the Choir. This is largely thanks to the generous support we receive from The John Pilling Trust (Registered Charity No. 241812) and the Idlewild Trust (Registered Charity No. 268124), to whom we are incredibly grateful.
Choir School 16:00 – 18:50
Warm Up 16:00
Theory Hour 16:15
Full Choir Rehearsal 19:00 – 19:30
(Adult Choir Rehearsal 19:30 – 20:30)
OUTSIDE OF THE CHOIR SCHOOL
Members of the Choir School join the Adult Choir for summer tours to sing weekly residences at many UK Cathedrals (see Choir and Church Music). They also have their own biennial Junior Choir Camp, which runs for a few days usually around May. In 2014 they camped in North Wales, where they were lucky enough to bump into the Queen's Baton on its way to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games (see picture below)!
Every now and again Day Trips during the term are also organised to places such as Chill Factore, LaserQuest, and Hollywood Bowl.
JOINING THE CHOIR SCHOOL
The Choir School is open to boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 16, after which time members are encouraged to join the Adult Choir.
After registering your interest with the Director of Music, a short informal audition involving some simple vocal and rhythmic tests is arranged to assess the prospective chorister’s voice and musicality. We look for children who display musical and vocal potential, interest and intelligence, but no experience is required.
If the audition is successful, then the new chorister will join the Choir School as a ‘probationer’. After a short settling in period (usually one month), the probationer is then invited to sing with the combined choirs for the Sunday services.
Director of Music
Marc Murray MA, ARCO (DipCHD), LTCL, UPLM, UTLM