By coming for an informal chorister audition, you have the opportunity to discuss with our Choirmaster, how well-suited your son may be to a chorister place at Saint Thomas. We are looking for potential as much as proven ability. There’s little point in trying to prepare for this, as we are always keen to see how potential choristers respond to new ideas and tasks. If the Choirmaster feels that there’s potential for a more formal application, he will make this clear, with no obligation on either side. Similarly, if he thinks that Saint Thomas will not be the right option for a boy, the Choirmaster can advise parents on other more suitable musical avenues to pursue.
Below is an outline of the various tasks your son might be asked to do. In no particular order, an informal audition will involve:
- Singing a song or hymn. Often boys bring a Christmas carol or holiday song that they know well, or perhaps something that has been sung in school assembly. If you don’t have something prepared and ready to go, please do not worry. You shouldn’t spend time preparing something especially for the audition, as the Choirmaster will be able to give your son some basic singing exercises to understand the quality of his voice. The Choirmaster will be able to play the piano for the audition, so if you do bring something to sing, please bring a second copy.
- Singing some basic exercises as a means of learning the quality and range of the voice.
- Straightforward ear exercises, to include pitching individual notes given on the piano, repetition of a basic melody, singing the higher or lower of two notes and clapping a rhythm.
- Reading a piece of prose or text from a hymn book.
If your son plays an instrument, please bring that along too. If he plays the piano, we’ll provide the instrument if he brings the music.
Emphasis is very much on the informal nature of your enquiry at this stage. It’s no use trying to second-guess the outcome, as some children show very obvious signs of potential whilst others may not. The best thing to do is to come along and see how it goes!
The (formal) Vocal Audition
Boys who have been heard informally and have shown potential are then invited to make an overnight stay at the Choir School. During this time they attend choir and classes with the current choristers. Towards the end of their stay, the Choirmaster will audition the boys along exactly the same lines outlined above.
In addition, three or four current choristers (usually from the 5th grade) will also be in attendance to sing with, and demonstrate to, the auditioning boy. We know that it can be daunting for a young boy to be asked to sing solo to the Choirmaster, and so having some current choristers in the room has proven to be a good ice-breaker, and puts the auditioning boy’s mind at rest.