24th June 2021

Voice Trials for Cathedral choristers – recruitment goes ahead despite pandemic disruption

Voice Trials for Cathedral choristers – recruitment goes ahead despite pandemic disruption

Now is probably one of the best and worst of times to join Salisbury Cathedral choir. On the one hand training and voice trials have been disrupted, on the other the music team have been very nimble in the face of all the disruptions and things have been tried that wouldn’t have been done in a ‘normal’ year.

David Halls, Director of Music said:

“From the zoom rehearsals and virtual anthems to managing social distancing, we have taken it all in our stride – and the choir is sounding remarkably good. I am always impressed by how positive our choristers and adult singers are. They want things to go well and, above all, they really want to sing.”

So, despite the pandemic throwing a spanner in the works, this year’s Voice Trials for choristers will take place on Saturday 3 July.

Adaptability and seizing opportunities to make music safely has been the name of the game for the Cathedral musicians and choristers for over a year. The organists played throughout the vaccination sessions, the adult members of the choir (or Lay Vicars as they are known) held the fort when the young choristers weren’t able to sing, and the Cathedral school and Cathedral music team collaborated on a Virtual Chorister Tour and the Make Me a Light outreach project.

The elephant in the room is the long-term impact of the pandemic recruitment.

David Halls, Salisbury Cathedral’s Director of Music explains:

“Chorister recruitment always starts a year ahead, so the choristers we select at the start of the year will have had an opportunity to come to the Cathedral and meet the choir in the previous October, had time to test ahead of the voice trials, which are traditionally held in January and early February, and will be ready to join us in September.

“That simply hasn’t happened this year and if I am honest, we are a bit on the back foot at the moment. Not that we can’t make up ground, but it’ll be tough. We also have to factor in uncertainty felt by families. Everyone has been turned upside down and nothing in life is certain at present. Not exactly the climate for recruitment.”

But like the pros they are, the Cathedral’s music team are putting their best foot forward.

David Halls, Director of Music continues:

“Have I been losing sleep over this? I certainly have. However, we’ve worked out how we will run the Voice Trials safely. We do have applicants, although one can always do with more. I’d just urge anyone who has been hesitating about applying to give it a go.”

Applicants don’t need to be ready-made singers to try out for the choir. They do have to have a good ear, be the right kind of character, like singing, and above all want to be a team player. The rest of it is hard work and good fun.

To apply for a test or Voice Trial, email chorister.recruitment@salcath.co.uk or call on 01722 555315.

Application forms can also be downloaded via the website here.

For further information, please contact Marie Thomas on m.thomas@salcath.co.uk or 07857 144691.