Art of the Choral Scholars

Art of the Choral Scholar

Wednesday 28th June, 7.30pm Venue tbc

Chelmsford Cathedral’s talented choral scholars make a welcome return in a programme showcasing their talents as soloists, along with fun close harmony and some more serious choral music.


Choral Scholars are a relative innovation, having first appeared in college chapels in the early years of the twentieth century. More recently, they have also taken their place in cathedral choirs around the world.


At the end of the nineteenth century, parliament passed a requirement on colleges and cathedrals to ensure that their choristers were properly educated (many of them had lived in appalling conditions, received no education and were treated as little more than lackeys). A. H. Mann, appointed to Kings College as organist at the end of the nineteenth century, took this new law to heart and gradually replaced all the lay clerks (paid adult singers) with “choral scholars”. Due to contractual obligations, this process wasn't completed until 1927. Gradually the idea spread to other collegiate chapels and now choral scholars are the norm, rather than the exception (though the first ever choral scholar at New College, Oxford, didn't appear until the 1960s and was our very own patron, James Bowman CBE). In recent decades, cathedrals have started offering choral scholarships to young singers in preparation for becoming scholars at university or, post-university, prior to entering music conservatoires for further study. At Chelmsford there is a mix of both, and we hear both in this evening's programme.


We are grateful to the Dean and Chapter and to the Director of Music, James Davy, for the presence of the Chelmsford Choral Scholars with us this evening.

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