Its principal function is to lead the Abbey congregation in its Sunday services each week and it sings a wide range of music, ranging from medieval plainsong to the most contemporary choral music.
There are about 20 choristers, aged 8 and upwards, who all attend local schools. The adults of the choir are comprised of a number of local singers and three choral scholars who sing in the choir for a year, usually between leaving school and going to university. The Director of Music is always glad to hear from anyone interested in becoming a member of the choir.
The choir has made two recent trips to Paris, singing in Notre Dame Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral and the Church of Saint-Sulpice.
The choir has also made two CDs in recent years. Its 2010 recording, A New Heaven, of music from the Church’s year, is available in the Abbey Shop, along with its most recent recording, Carols from Sherborne Abbey, made in 2015 in collaboration with Sherborne Chamber Choir, both conducted by the Abbey’s Director of Music, Paul Ellis. Click here to find out more and listen to a sample of the tracks.
Click here to read Dorset Magazine’s article about the choir at Christmas.
Counter tenor/alto vacancy
Sherborne Abbey Choir has vacancies in the alto section for either male or female singers; anyone interested in joining one of the finest choirs in the West Country is invited to contact the Director of Music, Paul Ellis, as soon as possible.
The full choir rehearses weekly on a Friday evening from 7.30pm until 8.45pm. There are two choral services each Sunday during term time. At the 9.30am Sung Eucharist the choir sings a variety of mass settings and motets, whilst at Choral Evensong it sings an Introit, Preces and Responses, psalm, canticles and anthem.
School holidays and half terms are all observed, except for a few days over Christmas and Easter. There are also a number of social activities and every three or four years the choir will undertake a trip abroad. In recent years the choir has visited Paris, singing in Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Church of Saint-Sulpice and also Chartres Cathedral. Plans are already underway for a short tour to Rouen and Caen in 2017.
Those interested in joining will be confident singers with at least some experience in singing cathedral repertoire. Good sight reading skills would be an asset.
Other music in the Abbey
The Abbey is a focal point for many other musical events in the town, with concerts taking place most months. Its annual Music Festival takes place in May and organ recitals are held weekly on a Wednesday lunchtime and each Bank Holiday Monday at 1pm.