The Cathedral Choir

There has been a Choir in Durham Cathedral since its foundation in the 11th century, when the monastic services were sung by the ‘monks in quire’. Today, the choir consists of a team of boy choristers, a team of girl choristers, six Lay-Clerks, and six Choral Scholars who are students at the University. The boys and girls usually join the Choir at the age of eight or nine and are all pupils at the Chorister School in the Cathedral precincts. The Choir is directed by the Master of the Choristers and Organist, supported by the Sub-Organist, and the Organ Scholar. The Boy Choristers can trace their origins to at least 1416, when they joined with the monks for some of the services. The Girl choristers are a much more recent development, and were founded in 2009 to work alongside the Boys, sharing their duties equally.

The Choristers rehearse six days a week to prepare for Evensong each day as well as Matins and Eucharist on Sundays. In addition, the Choir often sings services in other churches across the Diocese, gives concerts in the Cathedral, and regularly broadcasts on radio and television. The choir has an international reputation, and has a long history of touring abroad, including to Brazil, France, Germany, Norway and the USA. They have made several recordings and have performed with leading orchestras and ensembles including the Avison Ensemble, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, and The Royal Northern Sinfonia.

If you would like to join the choir, either as a chorister or a choral scholar, please contact the Music Administrator, Rebecca Dodd at (Please enable JavaScript to view this email address)

Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers

Adult volunteer choir

Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers was founded in October 1997 and consists of around twenty-four adult volunteer singers. It normally sings at least four services in the cathedral during each University term and has broadcast on several occasions, both on its own and in conjunction with the Cathedral Choir. While its raison d’être is the singing of the liturgy, its work also includes concerts and recordings.

Music has been at the heart of the Cathedral’s worship throughout its long history, with a choir of men and boys singing the daily services almost without a break since the Reformation. The maintenance and development of the Cathedral Choir continues to be a significant priority (and indeed the Cathedral Choir was expanded to include a team of girl Choristers in 2009). It was this desire to make participation in the Cathedral’s musical ministry open to a greater number of musicians which led to the decision in 1997 to found the Consort of Singers. The Consort is able to sing services at times when the Cathedral Choir is not available (for example evening Eucharists on major feast-days such as Candlemas and All Saints’ Day). While the choir is by no means composed entirely of students, it nevertheless sings only during University terms.

There are usually vacancies for sopranos, altos (contralto or countertenor), tenors and basses in October each year. All are welcome to apply for auditions. While previous experience of singing in a small choir is not a prerequisite, importance is attached to vocal ability and sight-reading. For more information and to apply for an audition, contact Rebecca Dodd, Music Administrator, at (Please enable JavaScript to view this email address)