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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
David McLean

Edinburgh kids offered chance to sing with top city choir at historic cathedral

Children aged eight and nine are being encouraged to become part of one of Edinburgh's most resplendent traditions, and get a taste of life as a chorister with the award-winning choir at historic St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in the West End.

The event 'Be A Chorister Afternoon' takes place the cathedral on Friday, November 26 from 2.30pm, and offers a glimpse of what it would be like to participate in the centuries old choral services that bring something quite unique to the capital.

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The afternoon includes the opportunity to sing alongside the choristers, learn new music and visit St Mary’s Music School where the choristers go to school, before ending with a special performance which parents can attend.

For many, including 12 year old Jake Thomson, who is a semi-finalist in this year’s BBC’s Chorister of Year competition, and 12 year old Diya Eddleston, being a chorister is a fun life filled with singing.

They perform at services, celebrations, events and concerts, while the standard that they achieve opens up opportunities from singing on recordings and performing live to choir tours to different parts of the world. The skills they learn, including the importance of listening to others and working as part of team, stay with them for life.

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Revd Marion Chatterley, Vice Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, says that the benefits of being a Chorister are extensive. She said: “For children who love to sing (and perhaps live to sing) it’s an opportunity to engage with and nurture that creative and musical part of themselves.

"They will be spending their days with other children who also love to sing and who love classical/choral music and don’t have to hide that part of themselves.

"Their music abilities will be nurtured and developed - they will leave the choir as better musicians/singers."

After months when singing in choirs was prohibited because of the pandemic, Duncan Ferguson, the Master of Music at St Mary’s Cathedral, added: “Scotland has a rich heritage of songs and the tradition of singing is essential to society as a whole. Like playing an instrument, singing gives young people the chance to understand and express different emotions, from joy and happiness through to loss and sadness, but in the case of singing there is something special about literally ‘finding your voice’.

“I think that people didn’t realise the extent to which live music has a distinctive impact until we were without it. Hearing live music is a very particular experience - as is the experience of making live music.”

Both Rev Chatterley and Duncan Ferguson, describe the life of a chorister as “rewarding” and “challenging”. For Jake and Diya, however, the word they use most is “fun”.

Diya said: “We’re singing all the time. It’s lots of fun, you socialise a lot and learn a lot from different people and it’s very nice to hear your friends sing.”

Jake said: “It’s joyful. It’s nice to be singing with other people with the same passion because you learn so much from them.”

To attend the Be A Chorister Afternoon, it is important to register online at St Mary's Music School Online Community.

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