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Chester Cathedral Choirs

Chester Cathedral is fortunate to benefit from two choirs; the Cathedral Choir and the Nave Choir.  Discover our choirs below:

Chester Cathedral Choir

The first monks of the Monastery sang their chants under the Benedictine Rule more than 900 years ago.  Henry VIII re-established the former Monastery as a cathedral in 1541 and God’s praises have been sung ever since.  Each year, the Cathedral offers opportunities for boys and girls to audition for a place in the Cathedral Choir.  After an initial training period as a Probationer, the Choristers are then admitted into the full choir.  On a daily basis, the choir is maintaining our priceless musical heritage, which is a unique education for life.  The spiritual impact of their training remains with them always, along with the musical education they receive.  The tradition of English choral music is the primary means through which the worship and adoration of God is offered in our cathedrals.

Singing eight choral services a week – which equates to around 384 sung services each year – shared between the boy and girl choristers, lay clerks, and choral scholars, the Cathedral Choir sings some of the greatest music from the fourteenth century to the present day.  The Cathedral Choir rehearses daily in the magnificent purpose-built Song School, which is built on the site of the old Monk’s Dormitory.  In addition to the daily worship of the Cathedral, the choir performs at least three concerts a year, records CDs and regularly appears on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and television, and, when time permits, undertake tours to other countries.  In recent years the choir has visited Ireland, Belgium, and France and undertook a highly successful tour of Florida in 2007.

There is no choir school at Chester and the choristers are recruited from schools all over the city and surrounding area.  The Cathedral itself provides bursaries for the choristers and this level of support, and commitment from the choir itself enables us to maintain consistently high musical standards.

The Nave Choir

The Nave Choir was founded by Dean John Saul Howson in 1867 which makes it the country’s longest-running voluntary choir!

Whilst still voluntary, we maintain a high standard of singing and forms an important part of our musical offering.  The choir sing at the weekly Sunday services as well as major liturgical services throughout the year.  Alongside this, they also sing a programme of concerts within the Cathedral and out in the diocese!

Interested in joining? If you have choir, sight-reading and vocal experience get in touch with our Nave Choir Director: alex.lanigan-palotai@chestercathedral.com.