The first step to becoming a Chorister or Quirister is to contact the school when your son is about 7 years old (usually in the summer term of Year 2) to arrange a very informal pre-audition with Mr Lumsden, Director of Music and Organist for Winchester Cathedral, and Mr Howard Ionascu, the Director of Music for Winchester College Chapel Choir.

How does my son become a chorister or Quirister?

The pre-audition is a very informal opportunity for us to hear your son sing and for him to try out the aural and voice tests that will be used at the formal auditions. It is important to remember that we do not expect to hear anything wonderful at this stage! We are looking for a clear voice, a reliable ear and a boy who is excited at the idea of becoming a chorister, all of which your son will be able to show us with no previous training. After the meeting, Mr Lumsden and Mr Ionascu will happily chat with you and tell you if they think that your son should proceed to a formal audition.

Boys audition formally throughout the year, by individual arrangement, when they are in Year 3 (8+) or Year 4 (9+) and join the choir a year later. On occasion there may be places available for older boys.

By the time of the audition, your son will be very familiar with what to do and with the people who will be auditioning him. You will also have been encouraged to visit the school and to meet everyone who will be closely involved with your son’s education, his choral training and his well being.

cathedral chorister auditions for places in year 4, 2020 will be held on saturday, 29 february 2020

quirister Auditions  for places in Year 5, 2020 will be held on saturday, 29 february 2020

further auditions may be arranged by Application throughout the Year

Academic assessment

It is important to establish if your son will be able to keep up with his academic commitments as well as his busy singing schedule. It is also important that your son gets a good sense of the school and what it would be like to be a Chorister or Quirister. If your son has been invited to attend a formal audition, he will also be invited to spend a taster day at the school, which will include an academic assessment but also plenty of time to get a good sense of what it would be like to come to the school. More information about our taster days can be found in the Admissions area of this website.

If the Foundations are sadly unable to offer your son a choral position, he may still be offered a place at the school, where of course he would benefit from the great wealth of musical opportunities unique to a double choir school.


What happens in an audition?

All aspects of the audition are explained carefully at the pre-audition and again at the formal audition. Boys are asked to:

  • Sing back individual notes played at random on the piano
  • Clap the rhythm of a short phrase played twice on the piano
  • Sing back a short melody played twice on the piano
  • Pick out individual notes from a group of 2, 3 or 4 notes played on the piano
  • Sing a short solo - this needn't be complex but should be something that he knows confidently and is happy to sing, once with piano accompaniment and possibly again, unaccompanied
  • Sight read aloud from an unseen text, which may be a psalm

Be a Chorister for a Day

Bringing your son to the popular Be a Chorister event is another good way for you to find out more, to meet the parents of our Choristers and Quiristers and to gauge from your son’s reaction if being a Chorister or Quirister is something that interests him. This free event is held twice each year by the Cathedral and the College alternately. It is open to all boys in Years 3 to 5 who love to sing – not just boys who want to be choristers. The next open day will be hosted by the Cathedral on SATURDAY, 1 FEBRUARY, please contact the school to be added to the attendance list.