The girls' choir of Christ Church, Frideswide Voices, is open to girls of all backgrounds, from any school.


Girls join the Choir as pre-probationers (trainees) at the start of Year 3. We are always interested in hearing from potential choristers when they are in Year 2 with a view to membership from September of Year 3; families should aim to express an interest by the Spring of Year 2 (the academic year in which girls turn seven). 

Occasional vacancies sometimes occur for older girls; interested families or teachers should contact the Frideswide Voices Choir Manager at the earliest opportunity for details of these, or to be placed on a waiting list.

How to apply

To apply, please complete the online application form (this includes information on booking a voice trial). You can also request a copy of this form from

Frideswade Voices

'Be a Chorister for a Day' taster events

Each year, the Cathedral hosts a selection of taster events for girls, boys and their families. The Frideswide Voices typically holds one 'Be a Chorister' afternoon in the Spring term, and a second in the Summer term before auditions (usually held in mid-June), for girls to experience what it might be like to become a Frideswide chorister.

Our 'Be a Chorister' events for entry in September 2024 will be held on Saturday 9 March and Saturday 11 May 2024. To register for either event please email

These events are open to girls in Year 1 and Year 2 (older girls are welcome, though families should be aware that entry to the choir is not normally available after this point), for entry in September of Year 3 (the academic year in which girls turn eight). 

Each event includes the opportunity to:

  • try on some choir robes
  • play musical games and learn songs with Frideswide Voices' tutors
  • have a tour of the Cathedral and College
  • join a rehearsal with the choristers
  • sing with the Choir at a service in the Cathedral

There will also be a Q&A session when parents can hear from a panel of staff, parents and girls about what being a Frideswide Voices chorister entails, and ask any questions.  

Families do not necessarily need to have attended a taster event to apply, though we are always glad to meet young singers before our auditions. 

Choirs singing together

Learning an instrument

All choristers also receive an instrumental bursary, allowing them to study an instrument. Those already playing an instrument are encouraged to take up a second study. 

During weekly training sessions, they also receive one-to-one theory lessons, allowing them to progress more quickly and smoothly through their instrumental study. Their vocal development is overseen by two Frideswide Voices singing teachers, with each girl receiving a 20-minute lesson every week.

Chorister exams


As they gain more experience, girls are entered for chorister exams through the Royal School of Church Music (Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards).

All choristers are prepared for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Grade 5 Theory exams, with most taking the exam (funded by Christ Church) in Year 6 or 7.

Girls continue to sing in the Choir until at least the end of Year 8, though almost all choose to continue until the end of Year 9.

View towards the stained glass
Organist's hands on the keys

Organ Scholarship

Frideswide Voices offers an organ scholarship which mirrors those of the wider University, giving talented undergraduate (and sometimes graduate) students the opportunity to develop their skills and gain experience at the highest level during their time in Oxford.

The Frideswide Voices Organ Scholarship does not need to be held by a member of Christ Church – the most recent Frideswide Voices Organ Scholar, for example, was also the Organ Scholar of Trinity College. 

The Frideswide Voices Organ Scholar acts as an assistant to the Director of Music, accompanying Monday rehearsals, teaching theory, and helping to train the Probationer choristers. They also accompany some Wednesday Evensong services in the Cathedral, on a rota with the other Cathedral musicians, and services at various other college chapels when they occur. 

Experience in a busy cathedral music department

The Scholarship is an opportunity to gain experience in a busy cathedral music department working to the highest level. The Organ Scholar also receives training in choral conducting, and support from the Cathedral Sub-Organist in preparing repertoire. They are an integral part of the Frideswide Voices team and the wider Christ Church community, and opportunities often occur for the Organ Scholar to contribute to the wider musical life of the Cathedral.

For information on organ scholarships or the musical life of the choristers, please contact the Director of Frideswide Voices, Helen Smee.

Frideswide Voices FAQs

  • When can my daughter apply?

    Applications are welcome during Year 2 for membership from September of Year 3. Girls who wish to audition are encouraged to attend one of the 'Be a Chorister for a Day' taster sessions prior to voice trials – these are typically held in March and May each year, with auditions taking place in late May and early June.

  • What will a voice trial for Frideswide Voices entail?

    After some vocal warm-ups, candidates will be asked to sing a short prepared piece of their choice (this may be sacred or secular, accompanied or unaccompanied). Some simple aural tests will then be given (e.g. singing or clapping back a phrase played on the piano). 

    Girls will also be asked to read a short poem or hymn text, and are likely to be asked about why they enjoy music and singing. The audition will last up to ten minutes. 

    If presenting an accompanied piece, please provide an extra copy of the music for the pianist.

  • Do singers need to be able to read music to join Frideswide Voices?

    No. Some girls will have no previous experience of reading music. Those who are keen and committed and have a good musical ear and a reasonable vocal range will be considered for the choir. Training in musicianship and sight-singing will be given. 

  • What do Frideswide Voices choristers wear?

    Full choristers wear a purple cassock with a white necker and surplice (provided), and black shoes and socks. Probationers wear cassock and necker only; pre-probationers (Year 3) wear school uniform. For rehearsals in the Cathedral the choristers wear their cassock and necker. A choir hoodie is provided and should be worn for choir visits outside Oxford.

  • What is a typical week for Frideswide Choristers?

    The schedule below gives an idea of a typical week for Frideswide Choristers, though each term also includes a weekend of services (Saturday Evensong, and Sunday Eucharist and Evensong) and other one-off events. The girls also sing Evensong without the Clerks on some Mondays during term-time.


    4.20pm                 Arrival

    4.45pm                 Rehearsal, incorporating one-to-one theory lessons, musicianship training and vocal coaching       

    6.45pm                 Departure          



    4.20pm                 Arrival

    4.45pm                 Chorister rehearsal in the Cathedral

    5.00pm                 Full rehearsal with Lay and Academical Clerks

    5.45pm                 Break and chorister tea

    6.05pm                 Choral Evensong

    6.45pm                 Departure

    Pre-Probationers (those in Year 3) attend only on Mondays in the Autumn and Spring terms.

    Probationers (usually those in Year 4) sing only a portion of Wednesday services during the Autumn and Spring terms.

  • How much does it cost to become a member of Frideswide Voices?

    There is no cost to be a chorister at Christ Church – the cost of the girls' singing, theory and instrumental lessons is covered by the Cathedral, and all resources and snacks are provided free of charge.

  • What are the benefits to my daughter?

    • Choral and individual vocal training, including a 20-minute weekly singing lesson
    • Wider musicianship and music theory tuition, including a 20-minute weekly theory lesson
    • Understanding of music within the Church of England
    • Professionalism and teamwork skills – regular singing with the professional clerks (Cathedral Choir singers)
    • A bursary to cover instrumental lessons is given to all choristers
    • A varied social calendar
    • Tours and visits to other Cathedrals
    • Chorister tea on service days
  • What if my child cannot attend a rehearsal?

    If a chorister is unwell and needs to miss a session, the Frideswide Voices Choir Manager or other staff must be contacted by phone or email to explain her absence. Any planned absence must be discussed and agreed in advance, and full commitment to the choir is essential. The payment of the instrumental lesson grant will be dependent on good attendance in the previous term.

  • On which days of the week does the choir meet?

    Frideswide Voices meets on Mondays (4.45–6.45pm) and Wednesdays (4.45–6.45pm). The choir sings a weekly Evensong, which is usually on Wednesdays. There are occasional extra commitments (for services or concerts), including one weekend per term when the choir will sing a Saturday Evensong and a Sunday morning Eucharist. 

    Yearly term dates are published in August for the forthcoming school year, with the schedule generally following Oxfordshire County Council school term dates. In addition, the choristers have additional duties in the Cathedral in the run-up to Christmas and Easter. 

    The end of the choir year is followed by a tour in the last week of July, and the Autumn and Summer terms are preceded by a three-day intensive (non-residential) choir camp. 

  • Who was Frideswide?

    Frideswide Voices is named for the patronal saint of Oxford, St Frideswide. She was a Saxon princess whose shrine lies at the heart of Christ Church Cathedral, which itself was born out of the remnants of St Frideswide Priory.

    Frideswide’s legend tells us that she defied social norms by refusing to marry a local king, instead following her call to monastic life. Despite much opposition, she founded a community of religious women (and probably men) and was its first abbess. According to tradition, Frideswide was a woman of learning, intelligence and wisdom.  As was typical of eighth-century monastic life, her ministry was one of teaching and missionary work in the area around Oxford.  She was known as a woman powerful in prayer and with gifts of healing, and her community as a place of learning and safety.