The boys of the Canterbury Cathedral choir win their places at the age of eight after detailed interviews and audition.
Selection takes place in November when Dr David Flood, director of music for the cathedral, chooses replacements for the 14-year-olds who will be leaving for senior roles. It is not always the most obvious ones, the angelic looker, or the cutest, chosen from the many who apply. Dr Flood’s axiom for selection is ‘an acute ear, the makings of a voice, and a sparkle in the eye.
Certainly those who sang with such clarity at St Clements on July 5 certainly filled these requirements and more. The boys study at the nearby St Edmunds School, covering the standard subjects as well as the relevant music ones, thanks to the financial assistance of the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral. Not only singing but instrumental tutorship is included. Each boy studies two musical instruments, not necessarily classical ones. Classes in musical theory are also studied.
The boys live in the Choir House which adjoins the cathedral, which has a relaxed atmosphere, and joint meetings with senior choristers as well as families and friends means that they have a fully rounded education. From what I saw meeting some of their number backstage they appeared to have enjoyed the experience, but were in no way fazed by the atmosphere of St Clements with its mix of ancient and modern setting.