Being a chorister at Blackburn Cathedral has many benefits.
First and foremost, joining the choir opens the door to a unique musical education, in an environment where boys and girls meet and make friends with similar interests to their own. Choristers also learn how to work in a team, and how to integrate socially too.
At the cathedral we work to the very highest musical levels, so choristers learn to focus and concentrate, aspiring to professional standards, and achieving their absolute full potential.
There’s also evidence that being a chorister can boost academic achievement (and this evidence is supported by several current chorister parents!).
A chorister’s education goes beyond music - singing in foreign languages soon becomes second nature, and choristers also find membership of the choir a vehicle for spiritual development as they learn about the Christian Faith.
If all of that isn’t enough, you might be interested to hear some of these perks of being a cathedral chorister:
- We tour abroad: The choirs regularly travel to foreign countries on concert tours. Recent destinations have included Belgium, Malta, and the USA. The choirs will be touring to France (including a trip to Euro Disney!) in summer 2015.
- We sing on TV and Radio: In the last 18 months, the choirs have sung on several live radio broadcasts, two recordings of BBC Songs of Praise, and a live televised service on BBC 1.
- We meet famous people: Many important events take place at the cathedral, and the choirs often have the opportunity to sing for and meet famous people. Our most recent VIPs were HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who led the Royal Maundy service at the Cathedral in April 2014.
- Choir pay: As a reward for the time and energy the choristers invest in the cathedral, we operate a system of choir pay, issued every half term. Choir pay links in to the rank system operated in the choirs, so as choristers are promoted through the ranks, their rate of choir pay increases!
- It’s free!: There are no costs associated with membership of the cathedral choirs. Music, robes, and all tuition is provided free of charge. Costs apply to some trips and foreign tours, though the cathedral policy is to seek assistance towards these fees in all cases.
The cathedral community is diverse, and being a part of it is equally rewarding.
The chorister parents are an integral part of this community, and there are many opportunities to get involved, should you wish to! For the singers amongst you, there are various choirs for adults, but also chances to join the team of stewards, sidesmen, churchwardens, bell ringers, or welcomers.
Whatever happens, all parents can’t help but enjoy hearing their son or daughter sing at cathedral services. Any child’s years as a chorister are limited - especially with boys, where vocal change occurs in teenage years. This is one thing that marks the chorister experience out - take the opportunity while you can!
The Cathedral Choirs operate during school term time, though commitments can sometimes fall outside of term dates. Cathedral choir terms are drawn up to coincide with as many schools as possible. A diary is issued every term with notice of dates up to a year in advance.
Our normal weekly pattern is as follows:
The Cathedral Choir - boys from age 7
Wednesday: rehearsal from 4.30pm - 6pm
Friday: rehearsal from 4.30pm, then an Evensong service at 5.15pm (finishing at 6pm).
Saturday: rehearsal from 9.00am - 10am, then a theory session until 10.45am.
This is the starting schedule for boys when they join the choir. After an initial period as a probationer (this varies from boy to boy, depending on speed of progress made), the schedule is then expanded to include a slightly later finish on Fridays, a slightly earlier start on Saturdays, and two services on Sundays.
The Cathedral Girls’ Choir - ages 7 - 16
Tuesday: rehearsal at 4.30pm, then an Evensong service at 5.15pm (finishing at 6pm).
Thursday: rehearsal from 4.30pm - 6pm
Saturday: Theory session from 9.15am - 10am, followed by a rehearsal until 10.45am.
Both choirs are involved with occasional extra services, concerts, and trips. Parents are notified of such events as soon as possible on an event-by-event basis.