If you’re a young person (aged 7 or older) who enjoys singing, perhaps a bit of drama thrown in, we invite you to be a part of this.
Rehearsals are at 4pm (arrive any time from 3.30 when refreshments are available) on Thursdays (finishing at 5 pm). Just come along, there are no auditions and it’s all very friendly.
On the first Thursday of each month things are a little different because it’s Messy Church and the Youth Choir joins in with this. It starts at 3.30 and finishes at 4.30.
There’s no need to do so (it’s okay just to turn up on a Thursday) but you can use this form to express an interest and we’ll get back to you (with no commitment). Or feel free to email.
How does it work? What will I be expected to do?
We’re constantly evolving as we go to accommodate the needs and skills of the young people and the wishes of their parents, but this is a really enthusiastic group (currently 16 choristers) that meets after school on Thursdays, during term time, 4.00 – 5.00 pm (arrive any time from 3.30). This is a rehearsal but with some social time and activities built in. Parents are welcome to stay for the rehearsal (many do) or free to go off and do a bit of shopping!
Children arrive any time from 3.30 and refreshments are available for them in church. After that there is a brief period of social time, games etc are available, and at 4pm we start our rehearsal around the grand piano, in church. This is fun and has a lot of learning built into it. We finish at 5pm.
The choir regularly sings for at least two 9.30 Sunday services a month (1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, though these often change to accommodate special occasions). Sometimes the Youth Choir sings on its own but usually with our adult choir. We hope to do an occasional concert soon.
A Youth Choir?
Yes, The Youth Choir is for young people from about Year 3 (age 7/8) onwards, we rehearse in church, always sing from music and aim for a high performance standard. The Youth Choir performs regularly, often with the adult choir, at the 9.30 service on the first and third Sundays of the month. Other services come along from time to time, especially when they are of significance to the wider community.
Do I need to be a good singer?
Perhaps surprisingly, no! As long as you are keen to have a go you can learn the rest. As choristers learn more and improve, they earn different coloured badges. There are no auditions to join. Many choristers go on to achieve regional awards.
What’s in it for me?
So much! Free music tuition, singing coaching and lots of fun – what’s not to like! As with anything worthwhile you will get a lot from the satisfaction of knowing you are doing a good job well – and that’s what we do, we have high standards. Singing is perhaps the one thing that you can do just as well as, and often better than, adults. You will be a member of a club as well. If you’re learning to play a musical instrument then singing in a well run choir will help a lot with that, especially the aural parts of exams. You also get paid for weddings.
Do parents have to pay for children to join?
No it’s ENTIRELY FREE, in fact we’ll sing for weddings when we will pay you. A great way of getting free music tuition.
Do I have to believe in God?
No, the choir is open to all. Whether or not you believe what goes on in services is unimportant. The choir is there to do a job: to help others with their worship.
What else goes on for young people at St Mary’s?
It’s an exciting time at the moment a quite a number of new things are now up and running for young people and families. Messy Church is a fun, informal service for young people that runs once a month. LEAF is our weekly youth group for young people of secondary school age. At the other end of the spectrum, Toast and Toddle meets each Wednesday for mums, dads and small children on return from the school run each Wednesday morning. Our service at 9.30 on the first Sunday of the month is particularly aimed at families and young people. So lots!
Rewards and Awards
As singers gain experience and skill they will work through a series of local then regional awards based on the a scheme from the Royal School of Church Music. The two higher levels (bronze and silver) are recognised nationally as approximately equivalent to grade 3 and 5.
What others say about singing at St Mary’s
Young people have been singing at St Mary’s for centuries! This is what some of the recent ones have said. All of these people are still very much a part of St Mary’s adult choir:
Cameron – joined 2012 – Now: Aberystwyth University
I joined the choir in 2012 because I really enjoyed singing. I didn’t know much about music then but I have learnt to read and understand music much better. I passed my RSCM Silver award and before I went to university I held a choral scholarship at St Mary’s for a few years. Being in the choir has given me the opportunity to sing solos, including at the Christmas Carol Service when the church is packed. I love going to cathedrals to sing with the choir. I have even sung for the Queen. Everyone in the choir has been very friendly; I join in fully with everything we do.
Now that I’m at university (studying Business Studies) I still come and sing with the choir while I’m at home during holidays.
Ginnie – joined 2005 – Now: Physiotherapist in the NHS.
I have been a part of the church choir at St.Mary’s for many years, starting at the age of six. During this time I have built up the confidence to sing solos and develop my vocal skills, and to achieve my grade 8 singing with a merit. Church choir has also assisted my participation in the school choir as well as auditioning for musical productions within school and the local drama group X-entricity.
For me, the Church choir is a big part of who I am. In my pursuit of the Arts, both receiving my grade 8 ballet, and being in the choir have supported my A level Drama. Being involved with the choir helped my university application as it showed a high level of commitment and differentiated me from other candidates.
I have made great friends along the way and have very much enjoyed being able to sing along side my Mum and Sister. This choir has genuinely been an amazing experience and opportunity. I enjoyed singing in the choir during the holidays from Manchester Metropolitan University, now I’m qualified as a physiotherapist and working at Hereford Hospital, living close by and so still able to sing in the choir.
Beth – joined 2005 – Now: Recent MA graduate, Courtauld Institute
Joining the choir wasn’t my decision; my brother had sung in a choir in Surrey before we moved to Ross and my parents decided I could go along with him to this church choir they’d found here. Little did they know that I’d be the one who fell in love with it, not him.
Fast-forward sixteen years and singing has opened so many doors to me. Through my university choir, I was able to sing at the BBC Proms in 2019, performing Haydn’s Creation in German with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. I also moved to Vienna for a few months shortly afterwards, and was able to sing with the choir of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
In St Mary’s choir I made friends that I’m certain I’ll have my whole life long, and I can’t begin to explain how much my confidence improved. I love being able to go back and sing in Ross whenever I’m visiting.
I cannot encourage you enough to join the choir; I would not be where I am today without it.
Laurence – joined 2012 – Now: Assistant Director of Music at St Davids Cathedral
While I was a full time member of the choir, Friday evening and then the Sunday services were among the best things in my week. As well as producing really high quality music, it’s great working as part of a team and hearing pieces evolve over the weeks. In our robes, we look quite serious – but actually we have a lot of fun! Being in the choir is a great thing to do – and I hope that I will be able to carry on singing, and maybe even lead a choir of my own one day. My work at St Mary’s (first as a chorister then organist for a year) helped me secure amazing opportunities to be a cathedral organ scholar at Hereford, then at an Oxford college, where I’ve been working for two music degrees, as a member of the music team at Exeter Cathedral. Presently I’m enjoying being Assistant Director of Music at the wonderful St Davids Cathedral.
James – joined 2008 – Now: Transport Consultant
I am so grateful to Mark and the rest of the choir for the opportunities being a member has given me. I was reluctant to join at first as I was nervous about singing with a large group of experienced people, even allowing other people to hear me sing. Choir has allowed me to achieve awards with the Royal School of Church Music (which look amazing on a CV- think of your future!); has taught me life skills (how to read music); and aided me achieving in Grade 8 in vocals. At university I was a member of the University of Plymouth Student Choir.
When I return home I always rejoin the choir and it’s like I’ve never left! Everyone is so friendly and you almost feel a part of one family.
Choir has benefited me both academically and socially (improving self-confidence). If you enjoy singing, this is an opportunity not to be missed!
Lydia – Now: Music Therapist in Cardiff
I’ve had many happy years in the choir. Having finished a music degree at the University of Nottingham and now living aand working in Cardiff, I enjoy coming back to sing when I can. I’m pursuing a career in music and that is partly down to having been a part of the choir and I am very grateful for that. It is a close, friendly unit and I value the times that I have had there very much.
There’s no need to do so (it’s okay just to turn up) but it would be helpful if you could sign up below (with no commitment). If you can’t come, you can express your interest here too.