There are 22 Cathedral Choristers and 16 College Quiristers at The Pilgrims’ School, making a total of 38 choral scholars among some 200 Pilgrims. They join the school as boarders in either Year 4 (8+) or Year 5 (9+).

An exceptional musical education

Choristers and Quiristers enjoy what is arguably the greatest musical education possible for a young boy. Singing daily to the highest standard, our choral scholars acquire an instinctive appreciation of music and an enviable knowledge of choral works, ranging from medieval plainsong to new works commissioned by modern composers. All the boys learn to sight read.

The school’s music curriculum complements the boys’ vocal training, with theory lessons, composition and history of music completing their rounded musical education.

"I owe my entire career to my experience as a chorister."
Read here what the presenter Alexander Armstrong has to say about the benefits of a chorister education.

Instrumental tuition

Most of our choral scholars learn to play the piano and an orchestral instrument. Instrumental practice is timetabled and supervised by the school’s music staff, establishing invaluable good habits for the future. Many Choristers and Quiristers attain high ABRSM grades and, perhaps even more importantly, they gain an understanding and appreciation of a breadth of music beyond the graded syllabus.

Senior school awards

Nearly all of our choral scholars will be awarded a music scholarship or exhibition by their senior school, where the Director of Music will appreciate their advanced musicianship and the impressive characteristics of a chorister training - organisation, confidence, teamwork and a commitment to excellence.

The school day

The Pilgrims’ School ensures that the choral scholars enjoy the same rounded education as their classmates. Aside from choir practices and services, the Choristers and Quiristers follow the same timetable and curriculum as the rest of the school. Academic lessons, music tuition, sport, activities and essential ‘time out’ are arranged meticulously by the school to fit around the boys’ various singing commitments. Even the sportiest of boys can manage to be both a committed sportsman and a choral scholar.

Inevitably, a special concert, service, broadcast, filming or recording will occasionally clash with lessons. The boys in both choirs are assigned a tutor who takes great care to ensure that academic continuity is maintained for each of his tutees. He will also ensure that the boys are happy and well, coping with their busy schedule and thriving on doing what they love best.

Choral scholarships

Financial circumstances should be no obstacle to a boy becoming a Chorister or Quirister. Substantial choral scholarships are awarded to each boy and additional means-tested bursaries are available, worth up to 100% of the full boarding fee (per annum). The Foundations also pay for singing lessons and tuition for one of the musical instruments learned. If you would like more information about choral funding, please contact the Bursar at the school.