St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir – Music and the Arts

By Harshitha Jagathiesh

The St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir consists of exceptionally talented singers who are crucial to the cathedral’s musical offerings. 

They perform regularly in daily worship and special events. 

The main cathedral choir includes 30 boy treble choristers, eight probationers, and 12 Vicars Choral, who spend most of the year at St. Paul’s. 

Boys as young as seven, known as choristers, live at the Cathedral School, where they receive extra music lessons in addition to their regular education. 

Starting in September 2025, female choristers will join the boarding program, too.

Scholarships the Chorister Trust provides help fund Choristers’ education and musical training, regardless of their families’ financial status. 

The Cathedral Choir has showcased its talent at high-profile events, including the evensongs in memory of The Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen’s 90th Birthday.

Central to the Choir’s mission is performing Choral Evensong daily and Choral Mattins and Sung Eucharist on Sundays. 

The Choir also engages in concerts, broadcasts, and international tours, earning acclaim for its recordings.

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral

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History of St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir

History of St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir
Image: Historytoday.com

St. Paul’s Cathedral, built in 1874, served as the educational center for its choristers.

Their history dates back to 1127 when eight boys were given education and refuge in return for their musical contributions to the Cathedral. 

The original site was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, forcing a move to the current location. 

This new home, complete with a chapel and a large cricket pitch, provided a place for them to learn, develop their musical skills, and reside.

Though time may have taken its toll, the resilience of this architectural gem ensures its continued existence.

The choristers remained at the building until 1967, when plans emerged to demolish it for a road widening project. 

Presently, they reside at New Change, located east of the Cathedral. 

Fortunately, the demolition plans were scrapped, and the original building was preserved. 

It sat vacant until the Youth Hostel Association assumed ownership. 

This building has a meaningful connection with Maria Hackett or the Choristers’ Friend. 

Her tireless advocacy ensured proper care for the choristers and secured their suitable residence on Carter Lane.

The Weekly Workings Of St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir

Every day, numerous tasks unfold behind the scenes to ensure the choir can lead worship and embody the Cathedral’s ethos.

Choristers

Choristers
Image: Stpauls.co.uk

Within St. Paul’s Cathedral’s walls, choristers, or young singers, follow demanding schedules.

From early morning to late afternoon, they engage in intensive rehearsals, refining their voices to perfection.

Balancing musical duties with academic life, they craft harmonious melodies.

For new recruits, known as probationers, the journey starts with specialized training to develop their talents.

Professional instructors guide them, helping them embrace the choir’s rhythm and become essential members.

Besides their musical endeavors, choristers also enjoy sports and leisure activities.

Vicars Choral

Vicars Choral
Image: Twitter.com/StPaulsChoir

In St. Paul’s Cathedral’s grandeur, the esteemed Vicars Choral and adult choir members contribute their voices to a heavenly symphony.

They pursue various musical activities, showcasing their talent on the global stage.

They work with renowned ensembles and orchestras, share knowledge, and captivate audiences with solo performances.

Yet, their dedication to St. Paul’s is steadfast.

They lead worship during Choral Evensong every Thursday and take Mondays off to rest for the upcoming week.

Music Staff

Music Staff
Image: Stpauls.co.uk

St. Paul’s Cathedral’s music team oversees all aspects of music, from leading worship services to organ practice.

They also train choristers and ensure the music department runs smoothly.

Their role extends beyond the musical realm as they undertake various administrative tasks.

Throughout the week, they engage in various activities. 

These include:

  • Planning and preparing music selections
  • Organizing special events like national services, orchestral masses, and celebrity recitals
  • Maintaining the renowned Cathedral organ and other instruments

They are vital in coordinating tours, concerts, and recordings and managing the Cathedral Consort and Chorus. 

Their responsibilities also involve:

  • Liaising with visiting choirs.
  • Recruiting new choristers.
  • Booking deputy singers.
  • Developing music outreach initiatives.

Angela, the Administrator, supports the team, facilitating task execution.

The Choirs of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

Apart from its main choir, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, hosts several other choirs:

The Cathedral Consort

Cathedral Consort
Image: Stpauls.co.uk

The Cathedral Consort was established to accommodate the growing number of extra services and evening events at St. Paul’s.

It is vital in supporting the wider Diocese of London services, including consecrations and confirmations. 

The group includes the Vicars Choral and a selection of professional freelance sopranos.

The Cathedral Chorus

Cathedral Chorus
Image: BBC.co.uk

The Cathedral Chorus is an amateur choir that performs twice a year, aligning with the Cathedral’s schedule. 

It contributes to the performances of Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. John Passion. 

The chorus consists of about 85 singers, chosen through auditions, and is always open to new members. 

Interested individuals can reach out via auditionsspcc@gmail.com for more information.

The Guild of the Companions

The Guild of the Companions of St. Paul is designed to foster connections among former choristers and musicians of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

It acts as a network for these individuals, celebrating their shared history and contributions to the cathedral’s musical heritage.

The Choir Events

Here’s the list of choir events happening at St. Paul’s Cathedral every day:

DayTimeChoir Event Name
Sunday10 am to 10:45 amChoral Mattins – Full Choir
Sunday11.15 am to 12.30 pmChoral Eucharist – Full Choir
Sunday3 pm to 4 pmChoral Evensong – Full Choir
Monday5 pm to 6 pmChoral Evensong – Visiting Choir
Tuesday5 pm to 6 pmChoral Evensong – Full Choir
Wednesday5 pm to 6 pmChoral Evensong – Full Choir
Thursday5 pm to 6 pmChoral Evensong – Vicars Choral 
Friday5 pm to 6 pmChoral Evensong – Full Choir
Saturday5 pm to 6 pmChoral Evensong – Full Choir

The Musical Events

The choir holds special events throughout the year to celebrate various occasions. 

Here’s the list of musical events happening at St. Paul’s Cathedral from February to May:

DateTimeMusical Event Name
11th February4.30 pmSunday Organ Recital
17th February10.30 amMessy Cathedral
19th March5 pmSung Eucharist for the Feast of Joseph of Nazareth
20th March6.30 pmBach’s St John Passion
8th April5 pmSung Eucharist for the Feast of the Annunciation
23rd April5 pmSung Eucharist for the Feast of George the Martyr
24th April5 pmSung Eucharist for the Feast of Mellitus
25th April5 pmSung Eucharist for the Feast of Mark the Evangelist
30th April5 pmSung Eucharist for the Feast of Erkenwald, Bishop of London
9th May5 pmSung Eucharist for Ascension Day
14th May5 pmSung Eucharist for the Feast of Matthias the Apostle
30th May5 pmSung Eucharist for the Feast of Corpus Christi
31st May5 pmSung Eucharist for the Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth

The choir has special performances during the Lent and Easter Weeks. 

If you plan to visit during the Holy Week, then read more about the Lent and Easter services at St Paul’s Cathedral. 

Musicians of the St. Paul’s Cathedral’s London Choir

The leading musicians of St. Paul’s Cathedral are

Andrew Carwood MBE – Director of Music

Andrew Carwood MBE
Image: Stpauls.co.uk

Andrew Carwood MBE is the first non-organist to lead St. Paul’s Cathedral’s music since the 12th century. 

He is highly versatile, with a career spanning singing, conducting, and choral direction. 

Andrew’s musical journey includes training as a choral scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge.

He gained prominence as a conductor with The Cardinall’s Musick, a three-time Gramophone award-winning ensemble.

William Fox – Acting Organist and Assistant Director of Music

William Fox
Image: Twitter.com/willjfox

William Fox, a former Organ Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, brings a wealth of experience to St. Paul’s. 

A prize-winning fellow of the Royal College of Organists, William is known for his exceptional talent as an organ recitalist. 

He has also held significant positions at Hereford Cathedral and Wells Cathedral, showcasing his expertise in organ playing.

William Bruce OBE – Organ Outreach Fellow

William Bruce OBE
Image: Twitter.com/webruce

William Bruce leads St. Paul’s acclaimed music partnership program.

He introduces sacred music to thousands of children in schools and communities across London and beyond. 

He comes from a choral education background and a first-class Music degree from King’s College London.

Martin Ford – Acting Sub-Organist

Martin Ford
Image: Stpauls.co.uk

Martin Ford is The Guards’ Chapel’s Organist & Director of Music. 

A versatile musician, Martin’s career spans organ playing, piano accompaniment, choral directing, and teaching. 

His extensive training at Oxford University and the Royal College of Music reflects his commitment to excellence in music education and performance.

Alexander Knight – Organ Scholar

Alexander Knight
Image: Twitter.com/StPaulsChoir

Alexander Knight is a highly accomplished musician who recently completed his Master of Performance degree at the Royal College of Music. 

He has bagged prestigious awards to his name, including the Harold Darke Prize for organ. 

His previous roles at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and Southwark Cathedral highlight his dedication to music.

Jeremiah Stephenson – Organ Education Lead

Jeremiah Stephenson is passionate about introducing children to the organ and fostering an appreciation for its diverse repertoire. 

As an accredited teacher of the Royal College of Organists, Jeremiah teaches state school students sponsored by the Royal College of Organists’ Inspiring Organists scheme. 


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Featured Image: nationalreview.com (Hannah McKay/Reuters )

Harshita
About the author

Harshitha’s heart lies where greeny mountains meet stretches of beach. She believes getting lost is the best way to explore