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Choir School

In 1978 St Mary's Cathedral was the first Cathedral in the UK to offer girls bursaries to sing with the boys as trebles. The girl and boy choristers of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh all attend St Mary’s Music School. 

The heart of a chorister's work lies in singing for the daily services at the Cathedral and for the services on Sundays. St Mary's Cathedral is unique in Scotland in maintaining a daily choral tradition and singing over 250 services every year. The Cathedral Choir sings services at Christmas & Easter. A particular feature of the Choir is its strong presence in the Edinburgh International Festival.

“A haven of calm in Edinburgh in August, St Mary’s Cathedral in Palmerston Place is also a repository of soothing music. There are free lunchtime chamber concerts each day, but the real glory is the Choral Evensong sung by the Cathedral Choir most evenings at 5.30pm.” Richard Morrison, The Times

Although the commitment is demanding and exacting, the high standard of musical performance on a daily basis brings a great deal of satisfaction.  It develops a team spirit and qualities of leadership. Singing at an occasion such as the Christmas Carol service, or a live radio broadcast, or working and meeting with world-renowned composers is an unforgettable experience for a chorister and provides the foundation for a lifetime’s enjoyment of all music.  The choristers’ timetable is very carefully monitored and a healthy and bright individual usually relishes the high standards of achievement.

“As a chorister at St Mary's I learnt everything I have needed in my life” .

Read more about Alexander Armstrong’s time at St Mary’s Music School

Choristers follow a full and rewarding five-year programme, from the ages of nine to 13. The concentration power which a chorister builds up over  these five years provides excellent training for any profession he or she may take up later in life. See ‘Moving On’. No other opportunity exists at a later stage in life for such musical training.

A typical Chorister will have a love of singing and of reading, and will generally play an orchestral instrument and/or the piano, for which there is no minimum standard required to make an application.

Expressions of interest are requested from parents of boys and girls aged 7-9. Applications are welcomed from families of any faith or none, and regardless of financial circumstances.

Parents and their children are strongly welcomed to come and hear a Choral Service, and to make contact with the Cathedral Master of the Music, Duncan Ferguson, who is always happy to meet with prospective parents and pupils in advance of an audition to offer advice.

 See what some of our former Choristers have gone on to do