Durham Cathedral Choir
The Cathedral Choir consists of 20 boy Choristers and probationer-choristers, 20 girl Choristers and probationer-choristers, 7 student Choral Scholars, 5 professional Lay Clerks, and 3 Organists.
The Choristers all attend the Chorister School, a preparatory and pre-preparatory school in the Cathedral precincts which numbers just over 200 pupils, and which maintains the special atmosphere which membership of the cathedral community gives to it. They take a full part in the life of the school, not only in music but also in drama and in sports. All of them learn the piano, and most learn a second instrument, too. The Choral Scholars are full-time students of the University, reading for degrees in a variety of subjects. The Lay Clerks pursue careers such as music teaching or postgraduate study.
The choir's function is to maintain the daily choral tradition of the cathedral's worship. It has done this with only two short breaks (at the Reformation and at the Commonwealth) since the cathedral's earliest times. It sings eight services a week — Evensong daily except Monday, and Matins and Holy Communion in addition on Sundays. It also sings at special services and concerts, and it has toured on several occasions — to Holland in 1988, the USA in 1994, Denmark in 1996, Norway in 1998, and Lübeck in 2000, where it took part in the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. In December 2000 it visited Brazil for a high-profile tour under the auspices of the British Council and the Cultura Inglesa; in July 2005 it appeared in the International Organ Festival at St Alban's Abbey. It broadcast Evensong, with Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers, accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic in 2002 and again in 2007.
The choir's repertoire ranges from mediaeval music through the Golden Age of Tudor English music to the present day; in any week congregations can hear it singing music from several different centuries, much of it composed for precisely this purpose and these forces. It has premièred pieces from such widely differing composers as John Tavener and Wilfred Josephs; it can be heard not only on several recordings of its own but also with Stan Tracey and his Orchestra in a CD of music from Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts, and on one track of Tina Turner's album Wildest Dreams! But these activities, welcome and valuable though they are, are subservient to its chief work, which is to articulate in music the daily worship of the cathedral — a worshipping community which seeks to be a centre of worship and mission for the city, the country, the diocese and the world.
To enquire about Chorister voice trials, Choral Scholarships, Organ Scholarships or Lay Clerk vacancies, please visit the Recruitment page.