The boy chorister team is headed by the cathedral’s Director of Music, Edmund Aldhouse; the Assistant Director of Music is Glen Dempsey. The boys’ boarding house, Choir House, also has dedicated and supportive House Parent (Loveday Perceval-Maxwell), and a full-time live-in Matron (Lucy Shute).
Life as a Boy Chorister
Boy Choristers can attend King’s Ely as day pupils, flexi or full boarders. For boarders, the day starts with instrumental practice before breakfast. All the boys then gather for an hour’s rehearsal in the Cathedral Song School. They then join the other pupils at King’s Ely Junior for a full day’s school, after which they return to Choir House for a snack. On Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, a rehearsal precedes Evensong. Boarders then enjoy tea before homework (called “prep” at King’s Ely), free time and then bed. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the sung services at the Cathedral are shared between the boy and girl choristers, and we ensure that they all enjoy plenty of downtime at weekends. There is constant liaison between the school staff, cathedral staff, and the boys’ parents, and the boys’ pastoral welfare is a crucial priority.
How Choristership Works
There are funded places for 24 boy choristers. Boys audition for a place during Year 2 or 3. They normally enter the cathedral choir as Junior Probationers in Year 3, and leave the choir at the end of Year 8. Occasionally, boys can join the choir in other years, when vacancies arise. From September 2021, boys receive 40% off the day fees; singing and theory lessons are provided free of charge. Means-tested bursaries are available in cases of parental need, and we aim to ensure that no gifted children are denied this life-changing opportunity purely due to financial limitations.
For further details, please contact the cathedral’s Director of Music:
Edmund Aldhouse (E.Aldhouse@elycathedral.org).