No choir can afford to rest on its laurels so no sooner had two new choristers been admitted to the Boys Choir at Evensong than preparations for next year’s recruitment began to get underway.
Sammy Bourke and James Bowman were made up to full chorister at Evensong on Saturday 1 October in a special ‘bumping up’ ceremony that involves the new chorister’s head being bumped on a stone in the Quire Aisle. No heads were damaged in the process and whilst these two now step up to take on their full chorister roles, the recruitment team have begun the hunt for next year’s new talent.
David Halls, Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral said: “The strength of a choir lies in its experience and with boys that is particularly important because we never know when the older boys’ voices are likely to change. We have to prepare for that eventuality and to have talent trained up to take over. It is a juggling act and some years you are lucky, some you are not.
“This year we are up to full strength but as an insurance policy we are looking to recruit boys in Year 2 as well as Years 3 and 4 for next year. The more talent I have available the better as far as I am concerned.”
David is particularly keen to encourage boys to come to the Be Chorister for a Day event on Saturday 12 November because it’s a great way for them to see what life is like working and singing in the Cathedral.
Asked about the recruitment process David Halls added: “We always received an enthusiastic response from girls to our recruitment events. They see no conflict between being sporty, for example, and singing. For boys it seems to be a little different. It is not until they see what goes on firsthand that they realise that it doesn’t preclude X-Box, football or any of the things they don’t naturally associate with choir.
“It is an important message to get across. In fact what choir does do is make you a bit more organised about doing everything. When you have a busy schedule that’s the only way to get it all done.”
Be a Chorister for a Day takes place in the Cathedral and Cathedral School on Saturday 12 November. Anyone wishing to go can download an application form here or contact Kathy Davies on email@example.com or 07979 378926.
Other key chorister recruitment dates are:
Voice Trial Workshop: Saturday 3 December 2016
Boys Voice Trials: Saturday 21 January 2017
Girls Voice Trials: Saturday 4 February 2017
Meanwhile, Sammy and James are already getting stuck in, with their first major concert just weeks away. On Thursday 10 November the whole Salisbury Cathedral Choir (boys, girls and men) will be performing Fauré’s Requiem as part of a Remembrance-tide concert.
The performance, which starts at 19:30, also features JS Bach’s motets Der Geist hilft and Ich lasse dich nicht, and a specially commissioned work by Ian Stephens - The Salisbury Service - written in memory of Christopher Steinitz, a former Salisbury Cathedral chorister who died.
Tickets are £15 available from Salisbury Playhouse on 01722 320 333 or via our events page here.