Who are the Choristers?

The Choristers of St Mary’s Cathedral are normal, fun-loving boys aged 8-14 from different backgrounds across the Sydney region. They sing the principal liturgical services in St Mary’s Cathedral. Before they join the Choir, the Choristers have shown an aptitude for and interest in music and singing. The Choristers are joined by twelve professional singers (the Lay Clerks) to form Saint Mary’s Cathedral Choir, Australia’s oldest permanent musical institution.

As well as singing regularly in the Cathedral, the Choristers’ experience is enriched with concerts, radio and television broadcasts, recordings, and tours. 

What do they learn?

The Choristers have the unique opportunity of working at the same level as professional adults, learning and performing music to the very highest standard. They acquire the skills of professional musicians while also learning life skills such as teamwork, time-management, professionalism, and discipline. Other benefits of the Chorister training include a familiarity with foreign languages and an enhanced development of higher cognitive functions.

What about school?

We are the only Catholic Cathedral in the southern hemisphere with an on-site choir school. The Cathedral College has perhaps the most rich and diverse heritage of any school in Australia, and ranks highly amongst the top fifty boys’ schools in the country. As well as offering the finest academic and musical training, and excellent sports coaching, the College aims to foster the fullest possible development of each boy while also placing a strong emphasis on religious education and Christian service. The Choristers play a full part in the College’s many academic, sporting, and extra-curricular activities. The two Primary classes (a composite Year 3/4 and a composite Year 5/6) exist solely to support the Choir, and thus places are limited.

Boys who join the school as Choristers have a guaranteed place in the Cathedral College until Year 12.

What do Choristers’ parents pay?

In return for singing at the Cathedral’s regular services during the week and on Sundays, the Choristers receive full tuition scholarships to the Cathedral’s choir school, St Mary’s Cathedral College. In addition to the tuition scholarship Choristers receive weekly individual singing lessons paid for by the Cathedral. 

Choristers’ parents will be required to pay for ordinary extras such as sports, excursions, and book fees. Choristers are required to learn an instrument (piano in Years 3 & 4), and these lessons as well as instrument hire fees are borne by their parents.

Please note that in order to keep his place in the Primary classes at St Mary’s Cathedral College, a boy who has been accepted as a Chorister must remain in the Cathedral Choir.

Who should apply?

We are looking for fun-loving, robust, happy, and friendly boys who have shown an interest in and aptitude for music. They should be able to demonstrate a sense of self-motivation and independence.

Prospective Choristers should be able to sing in tune, but they do not need any formal musical experience.

As part of the application process, boys are given a voice trial, where they will be asked to sing a prepared song: anything they know well, such as a hymn or Christmas carol. They are then given aural tests and asked some questions. Prospective Choristers and their parents often appreciate the opportunity of meeting the Director of Music for an informal chat and a practice voice trial before making a formal application.


Interested in applying?

If you or your son might be interested in becoming a Chorister of St Mary’s Cathedral in Year 3, then please get in touch with us on the Join page.

Choristers of Saint Mary’s Cathedral Choir in rehearsal

The Choristers’ Schedule

First-year Choristers are known as ‘Probationers’. They spend a year getting used to the school and the Cathedral environment, learning the ropes, and adjusting to the life of a Chorister.

Probationers follow a reduced schedule when they first join the Choir in Year 3.

After their first year, boys become full Choristers. Their weekly schedule is normally as follows:

8.10–9 a.m.

Monday (Senior boys), Tuesday (All boys), Wednesday (Junior boys)
3.30–6.15 p.m.
Rehearsal & Mass

9.15–11.30 a.m.
Rehearsal & Mass