The Cathedral Choir
Worship & Music
In the early days the music in the Cathedral was performed by two groups of musicians, the Vicars Choral and the Choristers, either together or separately. In the sixteenth century Lay Vicars first appeared. They were not in Holy Orders and their duties were to assist the Vicars Choral with the singing. Today the music is provided by sixteen boy choristers and sixteen girl choristers aged 8-13 years, and six Lay Vicars. The choristers are educated at Salisbury Cathedral School - a thriving independent day and boarding prep school for boys and girls, situated in the shadow of the Cathedral’s spire.
In 1991, the same year in which the 900th anniversary of the founding of the very first boys' choir at Old Sarum was celebrated, Salisbury became the first English Cathedral to form a separate and independent foundation for girl choristers. They sang their first service in October of that year and nowadays the weekly services are equally divided between the boy and girl choristers.
The Cathedral Choir sings a fully choral Evensong every day, and on Sunday mornings there is also a Choral Mattins and Eucharist. In addition to singing for services, there are other regular commitments such as BBC broadcasts, concerts, CD recordings and the annual Southern Cathedrals Festival, which showcases the Cathedral Choirs from Chichester, Winchester and Salisbury. There are also overseas choir tours: in recent years the boys and men have travelled to Latvia, Estonia and France, the girls to Italy and Austria. The Cathedral Choir has just returned from a tour to Saintes, France - the first time that boy and girl choristers have toured together. Read more here.
You can find out more about being a chorister on our Choir Recruitment page.