A chorister’s cathedral duties take place mainly outside teaching time so that his education, including sporting activities, is not disrupted by his choir duties. The cathedral choir sings Evensong during term time on three days out of six, as well as two services on Sundays. Most Saturdays are ‘plain days’ to ensure that the boys have sufficient space and rest in their busy lives with their families or in Choir House. All choristers receive individual vocal tuition and are expected to learn at least one other instrument. They also receive support in the theory of music.
Their day starts with instrumental practice before breakfast followed by an hour’s rehearsal in Ely Cathedral song school. The boys 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 before further instrumental practice. A rehearsal and Evensong take them up to tea before prep, free time and then bed. The choristers spend the Christmas and Easter periods in Choir House and they are regarded as the highlights of the year. Great care is taken to achieve a healthy balance between the general education of a chorister and his singing commitments.
Choristers also enjoy performing with ‘The King’s Barbers’ who are a group of ex-choristers in the Senior section of the school, showing the boys one of the many musical ensembles they may look forward to joining in the future. There is constant liaison between the school staff, cathedral staff and the boys’ parents.
Watch a video here: “Learn, Play, Sing – A taste of life as a boy chorister”