Full information about the schedule and music can be found on our website www.stalphegemusic.org.uk/choirsYou can also keep up-to-date with our activities via Facebook www.facebook.com/FriendsofStAlphegeMusic or Twitter @StAlphegeMusic.
There has been a Boys' Choir at St Alphege for hundreds of
years and it is good to see the choir still flourishing today in an age where
many churches have decided the tradition is now impossible. There are
spaces for sixteen boys in the choir as well as four probationers (choristers
in training): these places are contested for by competitive audition.
There has been great success in the Boys' Choir over the years with many boys
attaining the St Nicholas Award (the highest award presented by the Royal
School of Church Music) and grade eight on many instruments - boys are
encouraged to learn an instrument during their time at St Alphege. The
talents and discipline taught at St Alphege prepare a chorister for later in
life and have allowed many to pursue scholarships at Oxford and
Cambridge. Famous choristers of the past include Iain Simcock, Nigel
Short and Christopher Monks (Director of the Armonico Consort). The boys
have a structured week of rehearsals and services but much emphasis is also
placed on fun and making friends through regular trips and holidays.
During this summer, the boys spent a week in residence at Chichester Cathedral.
They also have regular social trips to places such as Drayton Manor and Laser
The Girls' Choir was founded in 2002 and has since seen many choristers achieve greatness, such as Alice Halstead who won the prestigious BBC Chorister of the Year award in 2008, and is now a Choral Scholar at Cambridge. There are places for sixteen girls in the choir and four probationers (choristers in training). These places can be gained through competitive audition. Girls tend to join us from the age of eight and sing with us until the age of eighteen; it is a great place to make friends and support one another. The girls follow a pattern of rehearsals and services each week and occasionally sing away. This summer the girls undertook an independent tour to Carlisle Cathedral for a week and next year they will visit Paris, as well as singing services in Liverpool, Worcester and Ely Cathedrals. There are regular social activities and choir soon becomes a central focus to the girls' lives, a part of the week to which they look forward.
The countertenor, tenor and bass parts of St Alphege Choir are provided by the Men's section of the choir. The men regularly sing with both the Boys' and Girls’ Choirs at two services each Sunday but occasionally sing with the Ladies' Choir too. There is a great diversity in age and background, but through the joy of music making, very different people have made friends for life and gained a hobby that is essential for the person. Our choral scholars tend to come from the treble line and join us typically at the age of eighteen. There has been recent success with our choral scholars gaining scholarships at St John's Cambridge and Keble College Oxford. Some choral scholarship positions are paid professional positions. Some men have sung in the choir since they were boys; one man has been in the choir for sixty years under five directors of music. The men work hard preparing varied music to high standards but can also be found in the pubs of Solihull after rehearsals and services. We currently have four countertenors, four tenors and six basses, but new voices are always welcome by audition into any section.
The Ladies' Choir is primarily made up of parents of current and former choristers. They come together each week to sing in a non-pressured environment. There are ladies of many ages and backgrounds but each with a passion for music; some are skilled instrumentalists and some have higher qualifications in music. The ladies sing by themselves, sometimes with the men and recently have provided support for younger girls in the choir.