Choral Applicants

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The choir enjoying the sun before Evensong (2013)

This page on our website is designed for people thinking of applying for a Choral Award at Peterhouse. It asks all the same questions as the Cambridge University Choral Awards page on the Cambridge University website, but answers them with Peterhouse specifically in mind. If you have any questions once you have read this page, then please contact the organ scholars. You can find their email address on the Contact Us page.

You might also want to look at the Chorister Profiles page and the Choral Scholarships and Exhibitions page for more information.

What is a Choral Award?

At Peterhouse, nobody ‘just sings’ in the choir. If you are in the choir, you are either a choral scholar or a choral exhibitioner. The difference is that choral scholars apply for their position before they arrive at Peterhouse, whilst the choral exhibitioners apply when they arrive. Choral scholars receive an honorarium of £100 per year off their college bills, choral exhibitioners receive only £50. Otherwise, there is no difference at all. Some particularly gifted choral exhibitioners can be promoted to scholarships during their time at Peterhouse, if the organ scholars think this is suitable.

Does Peterhouse offer Choral Awards?
Westminster Abbey - One of our cathedral trips this year (Easter 2010)

Yes, we offer Awards in all voice parts, and elect Choral Scholars via the annual Inter-Collegiate Choral Trials, held every October.

What is expected of a Choral Award holder?

Choral scholars and exhibitioners are expected to attend all rehearsals and choral services at Peterhouse. This means a rehearsal and service on Wednesdays from 5pm to 7.30pm, a rehearsal on Fridays from 5pm to 7pm and a rehearsal and service on Sundays from 4.30pm to 7pm. The choir is also expected to sing at all five of the college feasts (the most of any college): this is usually just a grace in hall, but is sometimes a service as well. Additionally, there are special services such as the termly Corporate Communion and Cathedral trips (two or three a term, but none at all in the exam term). Finally, it is unusual for choristers not to attend the annual tour.

In return, choristers receive formal hall free of charge three times a week, are invited to all of the college feasts, have their own annual dinner and various other meals throughout the year. Choristers are also given four singing lessons a term free of charge at Peterhouse. This is a very generous situation and one that is not often found in Cambridge! The yearly tour is heavily subsidised too, with choristers usually only having to pay for transport and food during the trip.

Are there any restrictions?

Choral scholars must be members of Peterhouse, though there is no restriction as to whether they should be graduate or undergraduate members. Choral exhibitioners can be any member of the university. Peterhouse accepts both male and female singers.

Inside the 17th-century chapel at Peterhouse

What course can I study?

It is a common misconception that Choral Award holders have to study Music. This is not the case. In fact, you can study any subject offered by Peterhouse and hold a Choral Scholarship. The subjects that Peterhouse does not offer are: Education, Geography and Veterinary Medicine.

What vacancies are there on offer?

Awards for the academic year 2014-5 have already been allocated, though it is possible that awards may become available later in the year. We are always pleased to listen to potential singers.

The other questions on the Cambridge University Choral Awards webpage are more general. You should read through them for information on applying, the audition and results.

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