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July 1st, 2011 - Two New Cathedral Junior Choirs
Two New Cathedral Junior Choirs



Choral Director Lucy Haigh writes:

What attracted me to my current role as Choral Director in the Diocese of Leeds was the opportunity to set up Junior Boys' and Girls' Choirs for children aged 7-11 at the Cathedral. These choirs began rehearsals in January this year and are now firmly established.

Each choir consists of around 24 children, the maximum number we can comfortably fit into our smaller, second practice room! Most of the children attend one of the eleven Catholic primary schools which I visit each week as part of our Diocesan Schools Singing Programme. I select potential Junior Choir members by means of informal assessment during their class lessons. An ideal Junior Choir member would have a clear, tuneful voice; the ability to sing back tunes accurately; and an alert, sparky personality. I also meet with each Headteacher to discuss the children's families' likely commitment to the Choir, before offering places.

The main purpose of the Junior Choirs is to prepare the children for membership of the main Cathedral Girls' and Boys' Choirs. The Junior Choir children attend the Cathedral only once per week, unlike the main choirs who attend three times each week, so the Juniors are able to find out if they enjoy it before they need to make a greater commitment. Junior girls may be ‘promoted' towards the end of Year Six, while boys will typically transfer at a much younger age, as the life of a boy treble has a biologically imposed limit.

I train the children to sing to a high standard and aim to foster a life-long enjoyment of choral singing. Each rehearsal lasts an hour and a half: this includes a number of fun vocal exercises to train the children's voices, tuition in sight singing, rounds to develop their aural skills, repertoire learning, and a short break in the middle which enables the children to bond as a group. The choirs' repertoires consist of masses, motets and plainchant (often in Latin, but with an explanation of the text) and some secular songs for variety.

The Junior Choirs have now reached the stage where they are singing Masses at the Cathedral, and they will also perform their first concerts this term. The Junior Boys' Choir often sings in unison with the main Cathedral Boys' Choir, which is fantastic experience for the younger boys. The Junior Girls' Choir performs on its own, and sings in two and three parts.

 



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To join the choirs and for all other
enquiries please contact:

Music Administrator
Leeds Cathedral
Great George Street
Leeds LS2 8BE

Tel: 0113 244 8634
Email: click here