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Life as a Chorister

Being a Chorister at Manchester Cathedral is a great opportunity, highly rewarding and lots of fun! Life as a chorister develops important social skills in children. Being an integral part of a totally committed team and working closely with colleagues in pursuit of excellence inevitably stands children in good stead for the future. They also gain self-confidence and a concept of the Cathedral’s musical heritage, of which they are proud to be a part.

Each year Manchester Cathedrals looks to offer choristerships to four girls or boys aged between 8 and 10. All choristers are day pupils at Chetham’s School of Music and as such receive an excellent musical and general education there, in addition to the first-class musical training from the Cathedral’s staff. Choristers attend rehearsals in the Cathedral each and sing for the weekly round of services and other special events such as live radio broadcasts, CD recordings and touring within the UK, Europe and beyond.

Potential Choristers do not need any prior experience to audition for the Choir. We are looking for children who enjoy singing, being part of a close-knit team and who, with their parents, will commit to a demanding but immensely rewarding schedule.

At Chetham's we are very aware that our Choristers have quite a tough schedule and we try to make their lives as easy as possible. In so far as is possible Choristers fit in with the regular School day. They attend lessons and most practice sessions with the other students whilst still going over to the Cathedral at set times for rehearsals. They have timetabled music lessons, as do the other students, and if they do not already play an instrument when they come to Chetham's they will start learning the piano. Choristers usually enter Chetham's in Year 4 and leave at the end of Year 8 (or earlier in the case of boys whose voices break early). Choristers do not have an automatic right of entry into the senior school. We do not normally take singers younger than Sixth Form and if Choristers wish to stay on after Year 8 then they must apply during their final chorister year to audition to stay on as instrumentalists. Auditions for the senior school will not take place earlier than Year 8. After Year 8 they can only stay on as instrumentalists unless there are very exceptional circumstances.

For more information download our Choristers at Manchester Cathedral leaflet

Chetham's is a member of the Choir Schools' Association

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Rankings within the choir

Probationer Choristers: new junior entrants into the choir will normally remain "Probs" for a year or more. They will then be tested to become full Choristers.

Choristers: students in the choir remain full Choristers until their final year. They may then become Foundationers or simply remain as 2nd year Choristers.

Foundationers: the Foundationers at Manchester are the senior Choristers and carry responsibilities within the choir.


Post-service debriefing

After services there is a short debriefing on the service just completed and any arrangements for the next day are discussed.


Chorister Funding

The Cathedral will contribute £4000 per annum per chorister towards the annual chorister fee due to the school.