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Joining the Choir

This page contains further details concerning

  • time commitments
  • choices in participation
  • requirements for joining
  • scholarships

Commitment and choices

The choir sings for High Mass at 11am on Sundays. The choir (or at least some members of the choir) sing at Evensong on the first Sunday each month; the remaining Sundays are led by a cantor drawn from the choir. The choir also sings on major feast days which fall during the week, about once a month (although with a concentration around Easter and Christmas). The choir also sings occasionally at weddings, for which those participating receive an appropriate honorarium.

Rehearsals are held every Thursday from 7.30pm till 9.30pm and at 10am on Sunday to prepare for the 11am High Mass. Those who are singing at Evensong rehearse with the organist from 4pm on Sunday; the service commences at 5pm.

People who can offer an ongoing commitment of only one or two services per month, for example only at Evensong, are also warmly encouraged to apply for membership.

A limited number of scholarships is available; see below for further details.

The social life of the choir is justly famous (Sunday lunch is just the beginning...). Joining this choir is certainly not just a choral commitment!

Membership of the choir

Why join the choir?
Membership of a liturgical choir is a thrilling experience which has much to offer the musician. In particular, you will have the chance to:

  • Explore the great works of sacred music in the context for which they were written;
  • Explore the fullness of the Christian liturgy;
  • Develop sight-singing, teamwork and ensemble skills;
  • Develop vocal skills in a supportive environment;
  • Experience the joy of music-making in a group context.

This environment thus offers excellent opportunities to develop musical and liturgical skills which are valuable far beyond the church context.

What will my audition be like?
Entry to the choir is assessed on the basis of an audition and, if you are successful in the audition, of a period of probation in the choir. After you have expressed interest in joining the choir, the Director of Music will invite you to an audition at 6.40 on a Thursday evening, just prior to the choir's main rehearsal at 7pm. (This process is designed to be as friendly as possible, while giving you a good idea of what you can expect from the choir. We want to give you a chance to show us what you can do, not frighten you off!) You will be asked to prepare a piece (accompanied or unaccompanied) that shows off your voice at its best. After you have presented your prepared piece, you will join the choir's main rehearsal, for which you will have been given the music to prepare in advance. After the audition and the rehearsal, the Director of Music will consult with the choir on your audition. If you are successful, you will be invited to spend a period of up to four weeks on probation before any decision about your membership is made.

On what criteria will I be judged?
The requirements for admission to the choir are:

  1. a well-produced, clear voice which can sing in tune and blend well;
  2. a good sight-reading ability and an aptitude to develop further;
  3. dependability and regular attendance;
  4. the ability to work well under pressure;
  5. a personality which can work well in a group music-making context.

While it is not necessary to be an Anglican (or even a Christian) to join the choir, the choir is encouraged to enter fully into the liturgy and the wider life of the parish. People without religious beliefs and members of other faiths or confessions are very welcome. The parish is very accepting of newcomers, and is a place which fully embraces the range of human diversity.

Member of the choir, whether or not they are holders of Choral Scholarships, are called upon to show leadership. Ours is a small and tightly-knit choir, and thus every contribution counts. A trained voice is not an absolute requirement for entry to the choir, but the confidence to sing out certainly is. It is not necessary for you to have sung in a choir before, but we do require you to be able to sing with reasonable accuracy at sight. We recognize that many young people may lack highly developed sight-singing skills, but this should be no drawback to your membership if you are willing to apply yourself to learning your music outside rehearsal and to developing your sight-singing within rehearsal. While the choir has a standing repertoire which will quickly become familiar, the repertoire is expanding and turning over at a constant pace.

The choir offers four Choral Scholarships. According to availability, scholarships are often offered to students or those not earning a full-time salary. Scholarships are paid quarterly in arrears.

A scholar is required to:

  • show leadership in his or her part;
  • come to rehearsal fully prepared;
  • attend every rehearsal;
  • act as a cantor on a rotating basis at the 9.30am and 11am services; and
  • participate in the two choral Evensongs per month (first and third Sundays);
  • act on occasion as a cantor at cantor-Evensong (second, fourth and fifth Sundays of any given month).

What next?

If you would like to participate in the exciting choral program at St Peter's, contact the Director of Music to arrange an audition, or alternatively send an email to music-director at [please replace 'at' with @ before sending] giving your contact details, and a brief outline of your choral singing experience.

Current members of the choir

Soprano: Louisa Billeter (scholar), Emily O'Donnell, Katherine Presley, Sue Skillington.
Alto: Rachel Ellyard, Anna Plotka (scholar).
Tenor: Paul Bentley, Robert Clayton, Brian Leung (scholar), Loclan Mackenzie-Spencer (Scholar).
Bass: Sam Allchurch, Jacob Groen, Will Evans, Tim Newton, Mark Skillington.

Organists: Julian Clarke, Rhys Arvidson

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