The Choristers of St Mary’s sing the top, or treble, line in the Choir. Children normally join the Choir aged 7 (sometimes a little earlier or later) and leave aged 15 (or when their voices break). Many ex-choristers carry on singing with the Choir in the back row once they have left the trebles as altos, tenors or basses, and we are delighted that so many return to sing with the Choir from further afield for the Church's major festivals. Many of our current back row were once trebles in the Choir - indeed a few have been members of the Choir for over 40 years. The Choristers also sing with the Choir at weddings (as they wish) for which they are paid; they also recieve a modest quarterly allowance (according to seniority) for their work during the normal routine of services.
Being a chorister is a great musical training for life; ex St Mary's choristers include a choral scholar at Nottingham and current choristers in the Chapel Royal (St James'), St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey.
When children first join the Choir, they are known as Probationers, and spend a term (sometimes longer, especially if they are younger) getting to know the routine of the Choir, and getting used to the services. Normally they will come to only one service on Sundays, and sing only a portion of the service until they have settled in. Please see the page on Probationers for more information.
Probationers rehearse on Friday evenings (during term time) between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.
When the Director of Music feels they are ready, Probationers are 'made up' to full membership of the Choir in a short ceremony during Parish Eucharist, and presented with their surplice. From then on they are expected to commence the usual Choir routine, and be present at all services and rehearsals unless arranged in advance with the Director of Music. They also begin working towards their Light Blue, and later Dark Blue Voice for Life medals. Please see our Voice for Life section for more information.
Choristers (Junior and Senior) rehearse on Friday evenings (during term time) between 7.00pm and 8.30pm.
When a treble demonstrates that they are reliable and professional, and after gaining enough experience, they are promoted to the Senior section. Seniors are expected to set the highest example to the Probationers and Juniors, and to lead the trebles. They are usually working towards their externally-assesed RSCM Bishop's Award or their Red Voice for Life medal.
Three trebles also have further responsibilities: two team leaders and the Head Chorister.
The team leaders have responsibility for looking after their side of the choir stalls ('Dec' or 'Can'), and are tasked with collecting music after the services and sorting it ready for filing away by the Choir Librarian.
The Head Chorister is an experienced, commited member of the trebles who is responsible for assisting the Director of Music in looking after the Choir, looking after Probationers, keeping robes and music in order and making sure the trebles are neat and tidy before services.