Worship & Music
Salisbury Cathedral Choir
At Salisbury, we maintain a tradition of church music that has been offered in the Cathedral since its consecration in 1258.
Salisbury has been well known for the lead that it gives in liturgy, and music has always played an important part in the Cathedral's worship. 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.
Other Cathedral Choirs
Alongside the Cathedral Choir, Salisbury Cathedral's worship is supported by the Cathedral Chamber Choir and the Cathedral Junior Choir. You can find out more about these choirs on by visiting their pages of the website. We also rely heavily upon visiting choirs when the Cathedral's resident choirs are absent - if you are interested in bringing your choir to sing at Salisbury, please see the Visiting Choirs page of the website.
Salisbury Cathedral Choral Foundation
The Salisbury Cathedral Choral Foundation is a Trust set up by the Chapter of Salisbury Cathedral to support the tradition of music in worship that continues at the Cathedral today, and to secure its future into the next millennium. The chief aim of the Choral Foundation is to raise money to ensure that the boy and girl choristers enjoy first-class musical, academic and religious education free of financial constraint.