There has been a choir at the Cathedral Church since the time of its Consecration.
The first Director of Music, Edmund Hart-Turpin, who was also Organist of St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, and who went on to co-found the Royal College of Organists, was the first conductor of the Nottingham (Sacred) Harmonic Society Chorus (now the Nottingham Harmonic Choir).
A distinguished tradition of plainsong was maintained during the twentieth century, not least by Peter Smedley who reformed the boys’ choir in 1955, directing an all-male choir, until 1979 when the choir once again became an adult ensemble. The introduction of Choral Scholars by Neil Page in 2003 transformed the capabilities of the main Cathedral Choir which has gone from strength to strength since.
Today, the Sunday choral services at the Cathedral are led by various groups which offer opportunities for musicians of all abilities to contribute to the liturgy led by our Cathedral Choir, the Children’s Choir, Parish Singers and Diocesan Choir.
The Cathedral Choir is a combination of auditioned local singers and our Choral Scholars. They rehearse each Tuesday from 7.30-9pm for the 11.15am Solemn Mass each Sunday, occasional Choral Vespers (3.45pm on Sundays) and major Diocesan events. Repertoire spans from plainsong, music by the great Renaissance masters (Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria, Byrd, etc.) through Haydn, Mozart and Schubert, French music by Duruflé, Fauré, Poulenc, and Widor, through to Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Britten and contemporary music by Cecilia McDowall, Howard Skempton and Amy Summers.
In addition to performing music to enhance the liturgy, the Cathedral Choir takes on large scale performances, recordings and tours in the UK and abroad.
New members are always welcome to join this friendly and open choir. Experienced singers wishing to be considered for membership are required to take an audition with the Director of Music, during which vocal, aural and sight-reading skills will be assessed.
Choral Scholarships are available at Nottingham Cathedral to Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses in tertiary education in Nottingham. Applicants should be at least 18 years of age and demonstrate proficiency with the necessary vocal and music-reading skills for admission to the Cathedral Choir. Only in exceptional circumstances will a Scholarship be awarded to anyone under the age of 18.
Choral Scholars are required to attend all rehearsals and Masses sung by the full Cathedral Choir during term time and in addition sing for up to two Sunday 6pm Masses per month and occasional Choral Vespers. Attendance during Holy Week and Christmas is by arrangement.
The value of the Choral Scholarship is up to £1,200, and in addition to this, Scholars are often called upon to sing for weddings and funerals for which additional fees are payable. Scholars also receive subsidised singing lessons with some of the city’s top singing coaches. In recent years, Choral Scholars have also had singing masterclasses with Paul Spicer (2018), David Hill (2017), Roderick Williams (2016) and Ruth Massey (2015).
Please visit the following page for more information about the Cathedral Choir and details about international tours and recordings.
Since the establishment of the Choral Scholarships in 2003 under Neil Page, the scheme has flourished and seen a wealth of talented musicians pass through its doors to go on to successful careers in music. We are proud that these musicians regularly return to perform with the choir. In 2012, we were extremely fortunate to receive a generous grant of £25,000 from the Friends of Cathedral Music towards our Choral Scholarship Endowment Fund – one of the highest grants ever given towards a Catholic Cathedral.
How to apply?
Applicants are invited to contact the Director of Music to arrange an audition at:
Applicants are usually required to sing one piece, after which vocal, aural and sight-singing skills will be assessed. The audition itself is a great opportunity for you to talk about your experience as a singer, your aspirations and reasons for wanting to join the Choir at the Cathedral.
As part of the audition process, potential Scholars will be invited to 'test-drive' the choir over a weekend, taking part in our Friday rehearsal and Sunday rehearsal and 11.15am Mass.
Children’s and Youth Choirs
The Cathedral runs a series of Children's and Youth Choirs open to all, click here for more information.
The Parish Singers comprise a small group of singers who lead the voices of the faithful at the 10am Parish Mass every Sunday morning. Under the direction of Graeme Vernon, they lead the hymn singing and music for the Mass Ordinary with a cantor chosen from within the group to sing the Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Acclamation. New members always welcome to come along and join. There is no formal audition; the ability to read music is desirable but not essential.
The recently launched International Choir is a non-auditioned voluntary choir made up of people from across the parish intended to reflect our diverse congregation. They rehearse from 5pm on Sundays to perform at the 6pm Mass.
To get involved please email the Director of Music.
The Nottingham Diocesan Choir is an ad hoc group of singers who come from across the Diocese to sing for major Diocesan events at the Cathedral. There are no auditions, just an eagerness and enthusiasm for singing.
The choir meet twice a year for choral workshops with the Cathedral's Director of Music looking at music for upcoming Masses, including the annual Chrism Mass during Holy Week and the Commissioning Mass in November.
If you would like to sing with the choir, please email the Director of Music.