Frideswide Voices: Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 FV 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. 

How are rehearsals structured?

Monday rehearsal sessions include musicianship training, and individual singing lessons each week; one-to-one theory lessons are largely held online via Zoom, at mutually agreeable times. Theory teaching follows the ABRSM graded syllabus, and those choristers who have passed Grade 5 Theory study some aspects of the Grade 6 syllabus, such as figured bass, as well as receiving training in aural skills to support aural test preparation for the higher grades of instrumental exams. There is a short break for drinks and biscuits in the middle of the session. On Wednesdays the full rehearsal with the Cathedral Choir clerks begins at 4.45pm, followed by chorister tea before Evensong at 6.05pm.