The King’s Ely Sixth Form Choral Scholarship scheme has been running in conjunction with Ely Cathedral since 2014. Former members of the scheme have gone on to major university choral scholarships and solo vocal study at UK conservatoires. Choral Scholarships provide an opportunity for young singers to work in a high-calibre and supportive context, singing alongside professional lay clerks who provide outstanding vocal and musical leadership to developing members of the choir’s back row.
Eligibility, Application Process, and Auditions
Awards are open to girls and boys in all voice parts, though sopranos and mezzos will be asked to sing alto when singing in the cathedral choir. The application deadline is in October, at the end of the first half of the Michaelmas Term. Auditions will be held in late winter or early spring.
Competitive candidates will have significant choral singing experience in a school, church, or cathedral choir as well as excellent GCSE predicted grades. The audition itself will take approximately 20 minutes and candidates will be asked to sing a classical solo piece of their own choosing at approximately ABRSM grade 6 or 7 standard. An accompanist will be provided. During the audition, candidates will also be required to undertake vocal exercises to test range, technique and maturity of voice, as well as sight-reading and aural tests.
Commitment and Schedule
Sixth Form Choral Scholars sing at least one weekday service each week, and have weekend cathedral duties once or twice a month. They are also expected to sing in all broadcasts, recordings, and concerts with the cathedral choir. Non-boarding Choral Scholars also take part in the Christmas and Easter “stayover” periods. Individual rehearsals are scheduled once or twice a week, during free periods in the school day, with one of the Cathedral Choir organists.
The staff ensure that a careful balance is maintained between scholars’ cathedral duties, academic commitments, and other extra-curricular activities. Choral Scholars are expected to sing in the school’s Chapel Choir, in one of the two close-harmony groups, the Barbers (boys) or the Nightingales (girls), and they are encouraged to participate fully in the many sporting and musical opportunities available at King’s Ely, as long as their academic and cathedral duties are not compromised. Boarding is available, but not compulsory.
There are up to six places for Choral Scholars (three in each of Years 12 and 13). Choral Scholars receive 33% off the relevant day or boarding fees, and further means-tested bursaries are available in cases of particular need.
Full details can be found in the information pack below.
For further information please contact the Director of Music at King’s Ely:
Neil Porter-Thaw (NeilPorter-Thaw@kingsely.org).