Auditioning

At a glance:

  1. We're looking for boys in Years 2, 3 or 4 who love singing and are enthusiastic about music.
  2. Contact Sarah Williams, who can answer any questions you may have: choristers@kings.cam.ac.uk. Alternatively you can ring the Choir Office at King's on 01223 331224.
  3. Consider coming to meet informally with Stephen Cleobury, the Director of Music.
  4. Attend one of the audition days held a couple of times a year. The date of the next audition day is in January 2018.

If you're considering a Choristership at King's for your son, you'll probably have lots of questions. For this reason we have always found that the best place to start is for you to contact us to arrange an informal visit. This will give you a useful opportunity to ask questions about the life of a Chorister, to meet with people here, and to look around King's College School.

An informal visit can also be a relaxed opportunity for your son to sing to Stephen Cleobury, the Director of Music. If then you still wish to put your son forward, he can attend one of the audition days held a couple of times a year.

Choristers rehearsing for a Christmas service
Larger image

Preparing for an audition

It's important to remember that we're not looking for a fully-trained chorister at the auditions! Instead, we look for an enthusiasm for music (and, in particular, singing), reasonable concentration, and supportive family.

As part of the audition day, your son will be asked to sing something that he's prepared. This can be a simple song, even a hymn – just something he enjoys singing. All we ask is that you bring two copies of the music so that he can be accompanied on the piano.

If you contact us to sign up for an audition day, you'll also get all the information you need from us.

The audition day

We usually hold two auditions a year: one in January and one in September. See above for the next audition date.

The day begins at around 10am with an informal gathering of all the parents and boys who are taking part in the audition day. There are plenty of people who you can talk to over coffee, including some current Chorister parents, so that you can learn more about the life of a Chorister. The Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, usually gives a short talk before the auditions start, and then your son will leave with a member of the Boarding House Staff to begin the more formal part of the day. Meanwhile, the Boarding Housemaster, Mrs Jill Etheridge, and Senior Matron will take you on a tour of the Boarding House, enabling you to ask any questions about the boarding side of being a Chorister.
Choristers celebrating
Year 6 boys celebrate becoming full Choristers after two years as probationers
During your son's audition, which lasts approximately 8 - 10 minutes, he will first be asked to sing a short and simple prepared song to a small group of people, usually including Ms Lyn Alcantara (the Choristers' Singing Coach), Nick Robinson (the Headmaster), the organ scholars and Stephen Cleobury. It's ideal if you can provide two copies of the music. Stephen will also ask him to do some aural tests such as clapping back a rhythm, picking notes out of a simple chord and singing back a melody played on the piano. If your son plays a musical instrument (by no means a necessity), he will be asked to play a short piece to the School's Director of Music, Mr Michael Stevenson. He will also meet Mr Colin Dely (the School's Head of the Junior School) who will ask him to do a few academic tests. In between times, he will be able to play games with the other boys taking part, overseen by one of the Boarding House staff. The morning is busy, but the boys auditioning often come away feeling very positive about their experience.
 
Once the formal auditions are concluded, your son will join you again, and the morning will end with a short concert, given by the current Choristers. You will then be free to go. The auditions are usually over by around 1pm, and the Headmaster will be in touch with you within a few days.

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