Being a Chorister

When a young person joins the choir, he or she is a probationer; effectively a chorister-in-waiting. The routine for probationers is less busy than for full choristers so children and parents normally have a year to get used to things before the full commitment begins. At the end of the summer term, the probationers perform a short morning concert to showcase their skills and demonstrate their readiness to be Read In as full choristers.

York Minster choristers lead a busy but fulfilling life, regularly singing in one of Europe’s most magnificent gothic buildings, and taking part in CD recordings, live media broadcasts and international tours.

Choristers are educated at The York Minster School with substantial bursaries available. All choristers receive a bursary of 60% school fee remission, which can extend up to 100%, on a means-tested basis. No pupil is ever excluded on a financial basis. 

Choristers’ duties take place before and after school so they can enjoy the same full timetable on offer to all pupils. Lessons in York Minster’s beautiful Chapter House include group and individual vocal training, sight singing, music theory and an introduction to the music and words of the services. Musicianship skills are developed through a variety of musical and vocal games, fostering a sense of individual responsibility whilst having fun.

Our girl and boy choristers share the week in terms of singing at services including Evensong, Eucharist and Matins, weekday evenings and part weekends, depending on a detailed schedule sent out to parents, in advance.

Choristers rehearse in the historical Camera Cantorum of York Minster, Tuesday -Friday 8.15-9.15am. They are walked from the school playground, less than a minute away, by the Director of Music or his assistants, at 8.10am on school day mornings. Probationers are taken across for a separate rehearsal.

Out of school term, the choir continues until Christmas Day, until Easter Day and for around ten days in July. During half-terms, the choir is free from duties normally from the Monday after school breaks up.


Chorister Testimonials:

“Being a chorister is such a special gift that has helped me develop my love of music; choral and classical, but also other genres. I can’t believe that from clapping along to songs as a nervous, wobbly-voiced probationer, I now get selected for solos and sing with professional world-class performers in Handel’s Messiah. The only thing I don’t like much is getting up early but it’s totally worth it once you’re there!” Current Chorister

“As BBC2 Radio Young Chorister of the Year 2019, my life has been a wonderful whirlwind of singing and performing. I honed my singing craft at York Minster Choir while a pupil at The Minster School York, directly opposite. I have special memories of those times, and would highly recommend becoming a chorister in York, to anyone with a love of singing and music.” Will Miles-Kingston, Recent Chorister