New College Choir

When New College School was founded, William of Wykeham made provision for sixteen choristers to sing the daily services in the college chapel. Hence, the choir was the historical rationale for the School. The founder's provision retains its relevance in the twenty-first century, although the School now provides 20 choristers, of whom four are probationers, with a further 4-5 who are pre-probationers. Today, in addition to singing the daily services during the University term, the choir has a full programme of recordings and concert tours in the UK and abroad.

New College Choir has an international reputation. The choristers receive an intense musical education. Nevertheless, a fundamental aim of both the School and the College is that there should be a balance between the boys' musical and academic lives. We are partly able to achieve this goal because the chorister routine at New College is less demanding than that in many cathedrals: the boys are not required at Christmas or at Easter; nor, indeed do they sing on Sunday mornings. Choristers at New College lead busy lives, but they also participate in everything that a successful prep school has to offer. Choristers frequently manage to secure academic awards as well as music scholarships to their next schools. They have also found time to play in and to captain school football, rugby and cricket teams!

At the same time, choristers must be fully committed to their music. They must learn to sing to a professional standard by the age of twelve, and they must also study two musical instruments: the piano and an orchestral instrument. The Choir's recordings and the concerts add a professional edge to their music-making. By the time a chorister leaves the School and the College, he has normally made about a dozen recordings, sung abroad on numerous occasions, and acquired a first-class musical and vocal technique.

Auditions are held each January for boys in school Year 2 (aged between six and seven), for entry as pre-probationers in Year 3.

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