Choristers: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to have musical experience to join?


No. We teach everyone starting with whatever you already know - whether that's a lot or nothing at all! It's fine if you're a complete beginner - but it helps if you enjoy music and really want to learn a new skill. For younger children, it is useful to have good reading skills before becoming a chorister.



When do I have to come to church?


All choristers have to come to choir practice, on Fridays and once on a Sunday (either in the morning or the evening). You need to come to the rehearsals and all services unless arranged in advance with the Director of Music.



I really want to join the Choir, but sometimes I have commitments I can't move. Does that mean I can't join?


In some cases parents can come to an arrangement with the Director of Music when busy schedules get in the way. Inevitably there will be some timetable clashes, and we try to be flexible. The important thing is that choristers are fully committed to the Choir and its responsibilities.



Do I have to pay?


No! The cost of the choristers' musical education is entirely met by St Mary's, and what's more, choristers are paid a small termly allowance (which rises with experience) to acknowledge their hard work and dedication.



Do I have to have been to church before?


No. There is no requirement to be a practising Christian to join the Choir - we welcome children of all backgrounds.



My voice is changing - can I still join? 


Absolutely! We welcome boys who are going through voice change (as Choral Scholars), even if your range is very small in the early stages. Our staff have experience with changing voices and will help you to keep singing as you discover your adult range. 



What should I do if I'm interested?


Get in contact with the Director of Music, Helen Smee. New choristers can start at any time, though most start at the beginning of school terms. Alternatively, parents and children can find Helen in person at St Mary's after Sunday services. If you think you might enjoy it, you will have a very short, very simple audition with one of the music staff.



An audition? Why?!


The audition is very simple and we try to make sure it isn't at all scary. You don't have to have done any music before, but it is helpful if you have some aural ability (you can pitch notes) and your reading skills are pretty good. It is nothing to worry about!



I'm interested. What should I do next?


Email the Director of Music, Helen Smee, who will arrange a brief chat (usually before a rehearsal or service). Feel free to ask any questions not answered here!