The Cathedral Choir
Services have been sung in Southwell Minster for centuries, and the tradition of daily choral worship continues to thrive. There was originally a college of Vicars Choral who took the lead as singers, one or two of whom were known as Rector Chori, or ‘Ruler of the Choir’. The Vicars Choral lived in accommodation where Vicars Court now stands, and lived a collegiate lifestyle.
The current Cathedral Choir owes its form to the addition of Boy Choristers to the Vicars Choral, and the Vicars themselves eventually being replaced by lay singers, known as Lay Clerks. For a large period of time, the format remained very similar – a number of boy choristers singing with a mixture of Lay Clerks and vicars choral, slowly becoming a group of entirely lay singers. Eventually, in 2005, Girl Choristers were admitted under the auspices of the Minster Girls’ Choir, directed by the Assistant Director of Music.
Today, the Cathedral Choir comprises the Boy Choristers, Girl Choristers, and Lay Clerks who, between them, provide music for eight choral services each week during school terms. The boys and girls usually sing as separate groups, combining for particularly important occasions such as Christmas and Easter services, and notable events in the life of the Minster. All of the choristers are educated at Southwell Minster School, a voluntary-aided Church of England school with a Junior School for choristers and other talented young musicians.
The Cathedral Choir has an enviable reputation for excellence, and has recorded and broadcast extensively over the years. Regular concerts and international tours are a feature of the choir’s work, alongside more local events such as civic services and the annual Four Choirs’ Evensong together with other East Midlands Cathedrals.
The Cathedral Choir can be heard singing at Evensongs at 5.30pm during the week and on Saturdays, and at services on Sundays. Please check the Worship page for full details.