The Choir was founded in the fifteenth century by King Henry VI to sing daily services in his magnificent chapel. This remains the Choir’s role and is an important part of the lives of its 16 Choristers, 14 choral scholars and two organ scholars, who study a variety of subjects in the College.
The boys usually perform choral services in the Chapel on five days each week, including Evensongs, Matins and Eucharists. These take place during the 8-week University Terms, with days off on Mondays and Wednesdays. Outside of these regular services, the Choristers have the opportunity to make radio and television broadcasts, CD recordings, and perform in magnificent concert venues around the world.
A musical education
The choristership 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 highly professional standard, Choristers gain a natural self-confidence, as well as the appreciation of good time-keeping, team work, concentration, dedication and the rewards that result from hard work.
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.
During the year the Choir performs in a number of concerts and broadcasts, and makes its own recordings. There are often exciting opportunities for the Choristers to travel to wonderful places all around the world, as well as to meet and perform with some of the greatest performing musicians of this generation. You can find photograph albums of our recent tours on the Choir’s Facebook page
These events are scheduled well in advance in order to minimise disruption, and to manage the boys’ workload. You can find photograph albums of our recent tours on the Choir’s Facebook page here.
Photos copyright 2020 © Geoff Robinson
Once a boy has been accepted into the Choir, he would usually spend some two years as a Probationer. During this period he will learn, with his year group, all that he will need to know to begin to perform with the full Choir. At the end of his time as a Probationer he joins the Choir as a full member, usually in Year 6.
Of course the learning doesn’t stop there! As regular 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 Choristers’ main point of contact when performing with the Choir is with the College’s Director of Music, Daniel Hyde. Mr Hyde has held the prestigious post of Director of Music since October 2019 and was himself a King’s Organ Scholar. As a choral and orchestral conductor, Daniel has worked with many of the world’s leading ensembles and has performed throughout the world giving recitals.
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. They are appointed on the basis of both their academic and vocal performance.
Singing lessons are given to the Choristers by David Lowe. David has an international reputation as a voice teacher and has been a vocal professor at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal Northern College of Music for the last 20 years. Most recently, David has accepted the position of Head of Singing at King’s College Cambridge.
For further information about the King’s College Choir, please contact us.