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Durham Cathedral Choir can trace its origins back to the time of the Cathedral’s foundation in the 11th century.

Who is in the Choir?

There are up to 24 girl and 24 boy Choristers as well six Lay Clerks and six Choral Scholarship holders. The boys and girls sing alternately.

At major services of Advent and Christmas, and at other special occasions, all the Choristers sing together with the adults of the choir.

How many times a week do they sing?

The Cathedral Choir sings eight services per week.

Scholarships and grants for those who sing

All Choristers are educated at Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation and receive a bursary worth up to two thirds of the annual fees. Further means tested assistance is also available. 

We also offer Choral Scholarships and Organ Scholarships to Durham University students.


We are holding informal voice trials with no obligation for children in Years 2-6 in October. To sign up, please click here to download an application form and return it to Rebecca Dodd ( 


When can I hear the choir sing?

Our choir sings eight services each week, continuing a centuries’ old tradition.

In term-time the Cathedral choir sings Evensong six times a week at 5.15pm Tuesday – Saturday and 3.30pm on Sundays.

On Sunday mornings the choir sings at a Sung Eucharist at 11.15am.

Singing across the centuries

From 1095: ‘monks in quire’ sing the monastic services.

1416 onwards: they are joined for some services by singing boys (Choristers), educated at what is now The Chorister School in the Cathedral’s precincts.  

1540s: after the dissolution of the monasteries ‘monks in quire’ are replaced by Lay Clerks, meaning men who were not ordained and who could read and write.

1960s: the six Lay Clerks are joined by six Choral Scholars – student members of Durham University.

1997: the Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers of adult volunteers is founded.

2009: the boy Choristers are joined by a team of girl Choristers.

Beyond the Cathedral

The Cathedral Choir has sung in concerts and services across England. It has also toured France, Germany, Holland, Ireland and the United States.

Concerts and highlights

The Cathedral Choir regularly sings for BBC Radio Three’s Choral Evensong.



  • Sang at Ushaw in County Durham, a former Catholic seminary, as part of its 450 anniversary celebrations – music included the famous Allegri Miserere.
  • Performed Bach’s St John Passion in concert at the Cathedral with the Avison Ensemble.
  • The Choristers performed for HRH The Prince of Wales when he visited the Cathedral.


  • Gave a sold out Christmas concert as well as sing at the Cathedral’s Advent and Christmas services
  • Two of the Choristers performed The Snowman which was screened at Durham Cathedral
  • The senior choristers performed as part of Ian Anderson and the Christmas Jethro Tull
  • Performed Venetian Surround Sound as part of Durham Brass Festival 2017 with His Majesty's Sagbutts & Cornetts

Singing for all ages!

We run choirs for babes in arms to teenagers including Chimes, Minstrels, DCYS, Chamber Choir and DCYS VOX.

More about our choirs for children and teenagers

Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers - volunteer adult choir

Our volunteer choir for adults

Our Cathedral Choir is supported by our Consort of Singers. This is made up of adult volunteers who audition to join.

More about the Consort of Singers

Help support our Choir

Why not join the Durham Cathedral Choir Association? This charity plays a vital role in maintaining our centuries’ old tradition of exceptional music.

More about Durham Cathedral Choir Association