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Music and Choirs

Salisbury Cathedral Choir boy and girl choristers

We would be very grateful for help with funding towards our music and choirs.

Musical Life

The choral tradition is part of our national heritage, dating back over 1,000 years. In 1991 Salisbury became the first Cathedral to launch a separate girls’ choir, and today the music is provided by sixteen boys and sixteen girls aged between 8-13 years, with six Lay Vicars. In addition we have eight probationers, who are learning to become choristers. From their first day, probationers will take part in choir practice and sing in the choir on a rota basis, which allows them to really experience the professional standard of performance. 

Being a chorister is extremely hard work, and requires dedication from the child and the whole family, but it is very rewarding.

All choristers attend the Cathedral School, which was founded as the Choir School in 1091 by Bishop Osmond specifically to train choristers. Life at the school is integral to the chorister experience, and with two choirs, we are able to rotate the choristers’ duties, making time for learning other instruments. Choristers benefit from the very high standard of musical training that they receive, developing confidence, professionalism and a sense of community.  

               "Cathedral music is a wonderful yet fragile tradition", says Director of Music David Halls.  "It is our duty to preserve it for the future".

We hope to continue this valuable choral tradition for many more generations.  Our aim is that no child should be excluded from joining the choir through financial hardship.  Therefore, the Cathedral has committed to give a 30% choristership for all choristers.  


The Cathedral does not receive money from the Government or lottery and we are financially independent from the Church of England. We are fortunate to have the support of over 600 volunteers to deliver visitor services; we receive over 300,000 visitors each year. However, visitor income only funds day-to-day running costs at the Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral Choral Foundation was established in 1996 to receive gifts that provide choristerships for both boys and girls and also that fund outreach projects of the Cathedral choir, including recordings, broadcasts and tours. 

Some of these projects are self-funding and contribute to the endowment; others, whilst raising the profile of the Cathedral and its choir require support.  Salisbury Cathedral choristers were first endowed by Bishop Simon of Ghent, then Bishop of Salisbury, in 1314.  Ever since, generous people and charitable trusts have contributed to the fund and also since 1989 to the separate endowment being raised for the Girl Choristers. 


Sponsor a Chorister
A 30% choristership amounts to £4,000 to fund one chorister for one year - £20,000 over five years.  Our aim is to ensure that any child who is successful at voice trial should not be prohibited from taking up that place on financial grounds.  If a benefactor is able to grant us a full bursary/scholarship for the five years of a chorister’s time at the School, a medallion is engraved with the benefactor’s name and awarded to a chorister/s at an Admission service. 
We are therefore asking for help with our funding so that we can continue both to attract talented boys and girls regardless of their financial circumstances and to support the choir in its outreach projects. 
We are most grateful for the generosity of individuals and Trusts which has allowed us to support our choristers with bursaries and scholarships – for both girls and boys.
If you would like to arrange a visit to hear the choirs sing or rehearse or have any queries in general, please do not hesitate to contact Jilly Wright on 01722 555122 or click here to send Jilly an email.