All full members of Bristol Cathedral Choir must be students at Bristol Cathedral Choir School, an 11-18 Academy, and are therefore all in Year 7 or above. To become a Chorister, boys and girls must normally first join the Choir’s Probationers’ Programme. This offers children the opportunity to sing with the Cathedral Choir as Probationers while they are in Years 5 and 6 at primary or prep school. The Programme is run by Bristol Cathedral, not by Bristol Cathedral Choir School (BCCS).
The Probationers’ Programme
To become a Probationer, children must first pass an audition, which is usually held in Year 4. Probationers then spend Year 5 becoming accustomed to the routine of the choir and receiving a musical training specifically geared to them. They participate in a reduced timetable of singing, joining the full Cathedral Choristers on certain weekdays and alternate weekends.
During their time as Probationers, their singing is developed in a supportive atmosphere. Probationers normally receive an expenses allowance of £50 per term.
BCCS admits up to eight pupils into its Year 7 intake on the basis of membership of the Cathedral Choir. Probationers must make satisfactory progress, as judged by the Cathedral Director of Music. Regular attendance by Probationers at rehearsals, services and concerts is essential and is monitored closely. The eight places are allocated to the children with the best attendance record throughout the Probationary period, which runs from the beginning of Year 5 (1st September) until Bristol City Council’s co-ordinated Year 6 admissions closing date (for admission to Year 7 in the following academic year).
For more information about Choristers, go to our Choir School page.