Chorister Stories

Want to learn more about what being a chorister means? Below, you can hear from some well known former choristers, including:

  • Laura Wright, Soprano and Songs of Praise presenter,
  • Roger Wright, Chief Executive at Britten Pears Arts
  • Will Todd, Choral Composer and Conductor
  • Peter McKay, lifelong chorister
  • Hannah Dienes-Williams, Soprano and Young Choristers of the Year 2017 Finalist
  • Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, Composer
  • Carl Jackson (Director of Music, Chapel Royal, Hampton Court) in conversation with Andrew Parmley (Chief Executive of the Royal College of Organists)


Crispin Woodhead, CEO of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

I was taken to the local church choir by my mum when I was 6 going on 7. It was a humble group in little church in South Manchester. I didn’t have a clue about it all but very soon after a local enthusiast (a Telephone Engineer) took over as choirmaster and organist, I was propelled into the Northern Cathedral Singers and a world of William Byrd, Stanford and Howells.

The best things about being a chorister were gaining an essential musical training, an understanding of how teams work and many great friends. It triggered my further education in music. Now as a CEO in one of the world’s great orchestras, I look back with huge gratitude.

To young people considering becoming a chorister I would say  . . . At first, you might just see the theatre of it – the cassocks, the language, the rituals of the services but, whoever you might be, the music and the musical discipline is a magnificent world. Look at the work of the choristers in the recent Coronation. That’s kids, just as I was, watched and heard by millions and millions performing brilliantly at the same level as top professionals. That’s quite a thing to have done when you were little! Beats watching TikTok all day – fun maybe, but also addictive and pointless and definitely not good for you.

Your Stories

Inspired by the stories from these former choristers? You can share your own experience!

See our wall of stories and experiences of being a chorister, and people sharing RSCM International Chorister Day activities and messages. If you are a Twitter or Instagram user, then you can already take part by using the hashtag #InternationalChoristerDay If social media isn’t your thing, you can send us your stories through this form.