Sixteen boy choristers, educated at King’s College School, form part of the world-famous Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. The Choir was founded in the fifteenth century by King Henry VI to sing choral services in his magnificent chapel; this remains the Choir’s primary role and is an important part of the lives of its Choristers, 14 choral scholars and two organ scholars, who study a variety of subjects as undergraduates at King’s College.
In addition to the term-time choral services, the Choristers have the opportunity to make radio and television broadcasts, recordings, and perform in magnificent concert venues around the world.
A musical education
The chorister experience is probably the best musical education available to boys of this age; it also brings with it the benefits of skills that will last a lifetime. Performing to a professional standard, Choristers gain a natural self-confidence, as well as an appreciation of good timekeeping, team work, concentration and dedication.
ROUTINE, EVENTS & TRAINING
Most rehearsals take place during the school day as part of a wider enrichment programme, and after-school. Once a week they are in the early morning so that Choristers are still able to play a full part in competitive sport.
The choristers usually sing at choral services in the Chapel on five days each week, called Evensongs, Matins and Eucharists. These take place during the 8-week University Terms, with days off on Mondays and Wednesdays.
During the year the Choir performs in a number of concerts, broadcasts, and recordings. There are often exciting opportunities for the Choristers to travel to wonderful places around the world, as well as to meet and perform with some of the greatest performing musicians of our time. You can find photos of our recent tours on the Choir’s Facebook and Instagram.
These events are scheduled well in advance and the choristers’ workload is managed carefully.
Photos copyright 2020 © Geoff Robinson
Once a boy joins the Choir in Year 4, he will usually spend two years as a ‘Probationer’. During this time he will learn, with his year group, all that he will need to know to begin to perform with the full Choir, usually in Year 6.
Of course the learning doesn’t stop there! As full members of the Choir, Choristers become professional performers and develop skills that they will be able to draw on for the rest of their lives.
The key person for the choristers is the choir’s director, Daniel Hyde. Mr Hyde has held the prestigious post of Director of Music at King’s College since October 2019. As a choral and orchestral conductor, Daniel has worked with many of the world’s leading ensembles and has performed around the world.
Assisting the Director of Music are two Organ Scholars. They are undergraduate students of King’s who, alongside their academic work, have responsibility for most of the organ playing in Chapel and the accompaniment of the Choir. The Organ Scholars also assist with chorister practices, as well as with training of the Choristers and Probationers.
The Choristers perform alongside the Choral Scholars:14 undergraduate students of King’s who sing the alto, tenor and bass parts in the Choir. Like the Organ Scholars, these duties are in addition to their regular academic studies at King’s College and the University of Cambridge.
As well as choir rehearsals, the choristers receive regular one to one singing lessons. Their teacher, David Lowe, has an international reputation as a vocal teacher and has been a professor at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal Northern College of Music for the last 20 years. Mr Lowe took up the position of Head of Singing at King’s College in October 2020.
For further information about the King’s College Choir, please contact us.