Our Voice Trials usually take place at the end of January or in early February (for boys and girls aged 7-9 years), but Timothy Noon would always be pleased to hear potential Choristers for a preliminary audition at any stage of the year and this can be arranged by contacting Exeter Cathedral School.
What to Expect at the Voice Trial?
All candidates and parents/guardians are asked to arrive at the Chapter House (adjacent to the Cathedral) during the morning (the time will be confirmed nearer to the time, once final numbers are known; directions and a parking permit will be provided). Candidates may wear any casual, comfortable clothes and should bring their own writing equipment please, together with the music for their prepared song and any musical instrument(s) as appropriate. After a welcome and introduction children and parents will follow separate schedules.
The children will undertake their music and academic assessments and will have a school lunch with pupil hosts, together with a tour of the School. The children will be assessed academically by senior members of the Cathedral School teaching staff in small groups, and will receive an individual audition assessed by Timothy Noon (the Cathedral’s Director of Music) and Timothy Parsons (Assistant Director of Music).
The children’s assessments will include:
- Singing a prepared song or hymn (this does not need to be anything complicated; it should be a song that your child is familiar with and really enjoys singing). It is extremely helpful if children bring the musical accompaniment for their prepared piece with them so that Mr Noon can accompany them;
- Playing a musical instrument if applicable (this is not compulsory);
- Ear tests e.g. singing notes played on the piano; tests of musicality;
- All candidates will also undertake academic assessments in reading, English and mathematics. No specific preparation is needed for these assessments.
We will do our very best to put the children at ease and make the occasion an enjoyable one for them as we want them to do their best and to be relaxed, happy and confident.
The programme for parents will include:
- Introductory talks by the Headmaster, Cathedral Director of Music and a member of the Cathedral Clergy – an opportunity to hear and ask questions about the Choristers’ life;
- A tour of the Cathedral, the Cathedral School and the Boarding House;
- A buffet lunch in the Chapter House with members of the School teaching staff, Cathedral clergy, and the Cathedral’s Director of Music.
Parents and children will meet back together the end of the afternoon for tea, after which there will be a short break.
Children and parents are strongly encouraged to stay to attend Evensong at 17.30 as it is extremely helpful for the children to see and hear some of what the Choristers do each day. Evensong will finish at approximately 18.15.
The Decision Process
Following the Voice Trial day, the Cathedral Director of Music, the Headmaster, the Assistant Head and a member of the Cathedral Clergy will meet to discuss the results from all the assessments. We will hope to inform parents of decisions within one week of the Voice Trial day.
It is important to understand that auditions for the Cathedral Choir are necessarily a very selective process and not everyone can succeed. The number of places is strictly limited in any given year and younger candidates may be encouraged to return for a further voice audition the following year if their voices have not yet developed sufficiently. It is also perhaps worthy of note that several of our current and past Choristers had unsuccessful auditions here or elsewhere before they were offered a Choristership.