Be a Chorister Afternoon - for children P3 to P5.

Find out what it's like to be a chorister and part of the award-winning Choir of St Mary's Cathedral. 

Friday 15th November, 2pm to 6pm. Free. Booking essential. 

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School History

The school was established in 1880 to educate the choristers of the newly built St Mary’s Cathedral, and was known as the Song School of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. It was originally located within the Cathedral precincts at Old Coates House and the aptly named 'Song School' building (still used by the choristers for daily practice).

Early in the 1970s two figures became determined to safeguard not just the existence of the Choir School but to expand it into something new and exciting. Dennis Townhill, Organist at St Mary’s Cathedral, and the Provost, Philip Crosfield, became the founding fathers of the new specialist music school that is very much alive today. Their dreams of a school for gifted musical children, modelled on the Yehudi Menuhin School in England, became a reality in 1972, when the first young instrumentalists arrived. Lord Menuhin himself very much approved, and even referred to St Mary’s Music School as “my younger sister-school in Scotland”.

Girls joined the Cathedral Choir in 1976, the first Cathedral Choir in the UK to admit girls alongside boy trebles, and today, as a centre of musical excellence, children from all over Scotland and beyond join the choir and the school.

In 1995 the opportunity arose to consolidate the school estate at a single location at Coates Hall on Grosvenor Crescent. The building was formerly a Theological College and includes a fine wing designed by Robert Lorimer.

In 2016 the school put forward a proposal to move its location to the former Royal High School in Edinburgh in competition with another proposal to convert the site to a hotel. If successful, this will allow the school to increase the number of its pupils to around 120 with improved facilities, including a concert hall.

 

Instrumental Learning

Choir School

Saturday Music Classes

 

St Mary’s Music School is one of the nine specialist Music and Dance Schools the UK (and the only one in Scotland)  funded by the UK Government and providing the finest training in Britain. It is a co-educational, non-denominational specialist music school, offering a world class standard of music and academic education to musically gifted children aged 9-19 years. It is also the Choir School of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh. It attracts day and boarding pupils from across Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe and internationally. 

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St Mary's Music School Trust Ltd, Registered No: 54504
St Mary's Music School Trust Limited is a charity No. SC014611
Registered Office: Coates Hall, 25 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 5EL.