Girls' Choir

'an exceptional girls' choir' The Observer

Now in its tenth year, the St Catharine's College Girls' Choir was the first college-based choir for girls in the UK, breaking with 900 years of tradition and setting a precedent which has been followed by several other institutions both here and abroad. The choir provides a unique and invaluable musical experience for girls aged 8 to 15; with many girls continuing to age 18 in the mixed-voice College Choir.

The choir sings weekly in the College Chapel, as well as giving regular concerts and its repertoire extends from the early Middle Ages to the 21st century, including music both sacred and secular.

Latest CD release on the Resonus Label
Sing Levy Dew

Songs by Sally Beamish, Richard Rodney Bennett, Benjamin Britten, Jonathan Dove and Howard Skempton

About the choir

The choir is currently made up of 30 girls, aged between eight and fifteen (years four to ten), drawn from local schools. The choir meets twice a week - on Monday and Tuesday afternoons after school - and sings a service in chapel every Tuesday, as well as participating in special concerts. There are a small number of 'pre-probationers' (school year 3) who attend on Mondays only and do not ordinarily participate in services.

The Girls' Choir is semi-independent of the mixed-voice student College Choir, though choristers leaving the choir at age 15 may, by audition, be invited to sing as a full member of the College Choir. Members of the Girls' Choir also receive regular tuition in music theory and reading and in vocal technique. The ethos of the choir differs from many other choirs of its type. St Catharine’s Girls’ Choir is not a school choir; nor is it limited to traditional Church repertoire. We are always looking at ways to expand the musical experience and vision of choir members, and this is reflected in the diversity of the choir’s activities.

Tenth Anniversary Events

The choir has a busy schedule of events in this, its tenth anniversary year:

STEM in SONG: We will be continuing with this ground-breaking initiative, encouraging girls to engage with the STEM subjects, with performances in early 2019 and the release of a new video. Watch this space!

Tour to California: The choristers will be travelling to California in April 2019 to give concerts and sing services in San Francisco and beyond.

Christmas Luminaria, December 12, 2018: The girls will again be performing in this beautiful and atmospheric event. Tickets to be released soon!

Girls' Choir Friends Scheme

The Girls' Choir Friends Scheme was launched in 2018 with the ambition to support the choir's many activities through the endowment of choristerships. You can read more about the scheme here.

To donate to the Friends Scheme, please visit our online donation page and find 'Girls' Choir' in the drop-down menu 'I would like my gift to support'.

Past successes

In its first ten years, the choir has given performances in such distinguished venues as St Paul's Cathedral, St David's Hall, Cardiff and St John's, Smith Square, and has sung services in the Cathedrals of Ely, Lichfield and Gloucester.  The choir has toured to Poland and Hungary, and are regularly asked to participate in major choral/orchestral works such as Bach's St Matthew Passion, Mahler's Third Symphony, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius and Holst's The Planets. The girls have made several appearances on BBC Radio, including a special edition of Radio 3's The Choir with opera star Sarah Connolly as part of the celebrations marking International Womens' Day.

In October 2015, Agatha Pethers, our Head Chorister, was named joint BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year in a final broadcast on Radio 2 from the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. In December of that year, the choir featured on the front cover of Gramophone magazine, to mark its first commercial CD release, Nova! Nova! on the Resonus label. The choir have featured on two more recordings on Resonus. See Recordings Page for details.

Weekly Schedule

  • Monday: 16.30-17.00 Probationers only; 17.00-17.30 Full Choir; 17.30-18.30 Choristers only
  • Tuesday (outside University terms): as Monday
  • Tuesday (during University term): 17.00-18.00 rehearsal for Full Choir; 18.30-19.10 Service

For information about auditioning for the choir, please contact Edward Wickham.