St George's Cathedral has a well-established musical tradition, with a diversity of styles represented at the different Masses, ranging from congregational hymns and unison Mass settings at the 10.00 Family Mass, through plainsong and polyphony at the 11.30 Solemn Mass, to occasionally instrumental and contemporary music from across the world at the 18:00 Mass on Sundays.
The Cathedral Choirs sing at the Sunday morning Masses and on major events of the year, such as Advent, Christmas, Holy Week and Easter. The Cathedral Girls' Choir leads the worship at the 10.00 Family Mass, and occasionally at the 11.30 Solemn Mass with the Lay Clerks. Their repertoire ranges from music by the medieval abbess St Hildegard von Bingen, through to 21st Century compositions by Nicholas O'Neill and Timothy Craig Harrison. The Cathedral Choir of Boys and Lay Clerks sings at the 11.30 Solemn Mass on Sundays and on major Feast Days, with a repertoire that encompasses Tudor Polyphony, Gregorian Chant, Baroque, Viennese Classical, and contemporary composers such as Arvo Pärt, Petr Eben, John Tavener and James MacMillan.
The original Cathedral Choir was formed in 1848 when the Cathedral was opened, and it sang during the visit to the Cathedral of Pope John Paul II in 1982. Our choirs play a special part in the Cathedral's community and they occasionally broadcast to a wider public on BBC Radio and TV, most recently at Christmas Midnight Mass in 2015 on BBC1.
At present there are 14 boy choristers aged between 8 and 13 and 16 girl choristers aged between 9 and 15, together with 9 adult Lay Clerks. Auditions for choristers are held once a year during the spring, though the Director of Music is always happy to hear prospective candidates at any time.
Traditionally, cathedral choirs have provided an opportunity for children from all types of social background to become choristers solely by virtue of their outstanding musical promise. If your child is aged between 7-12 years of age, loves singing, lives within commuting distance of Southwark and would like to take an active part in services, concerts, broadcasts and recordings in the inspiring surroundings of St George's Cathedral, then we would like to hear from you. We welcome all enquiries. An informal hearing can be arranged at any time by contacting the Director of Music, Norman Harper.