Salisbury Cathedral Choir maintains 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 has given 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. 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 choristers sing 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. Voice trials are held annually for children in School Years 3 and 4, in January for boys and in February for girls. The Cathedral runs a hugely popular choir open day 'Be a chorister for a day' each November and a Voice Trial Workshop in December. The Director of Music and his Assistant also offer informal pre-auditions at any time to children who are interested in becoming a chorister. For details of any of these activities please firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07587 826 622.