Christ Church Choir Gap Year Opportunities

The music department of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin have recently launched a new Gap Year Placement Scheme, for pre and post university students.
The scheme offers a generous package of accommodation, tuition, and a maintenance grant – and is an excellent way for young men and women to gain experience singing in a cathedral choir; either before taking up a choral scholarship at college, or to further their musical career after graduation.
The choir at Christ Church already has a number of singers from a collegiate background, and also offers choral scholarships to singers studying in Dublin. It is also the only Anglican cathedral in the UK and Ireland that offers professional singing opportunities to women.
For more information about the scheme, please feel free to download the following leaflet, and email the Director of Music for more information.
File: Christ Church Gap Year Placements (PDF, 1.3MB)

Productivity Leap

The impending start of my new day job on Monday has rather focussed my mind.

All those little jobs, that I've hitherto been putting off, now have to fit within the last few remaining days of freedom. And so, overnight, I've suddenly become rather busy.

I'll not bore you with the various jobs that I've got to complete, but yesterday I ended up doing a 12-hour day – from 10.00am to midnight – with only a two hour break in the middle to share a cup of tea with a friend and grab some dinner.

I'm certainly not used to this level of activity. Indeed for the last few weeks, I've managed to lose most of the day watching trashy daytime TV shows. And any jobs that have needed doing have taken about 3-4 times as long as usual, if they've even been done at all.

I guess the old saying holds true; that if you want something doing, then always ask a busy person. Because, with too much time on your hands, you become awfully unproductive.

A simple task like doing laundry can (including extended procrastination time) expand to last all day; so that you end up getting very little done.

Folding Chairs

foldingchair.jpgI have a growing dislike of folding chairs. Not only are they really uncomfortable to sit on, and feel like they’re about to collapse at any moment. But they’re also really noisy.
I was at a classical music concert on Saturday night, where the venue had hired in some extra seating. The existing chairs had been supplemented with cheap folding chairs, a bit like the one in the photo, made from a combination of plastic and metal.
And right from the start of the performance these chairs were making a racket. Every time someone fidgeted or shifted their weight on one of these seats, it creaked, loudly. And the cumulative effect of lots of creaking chairs was really distracting. In fact, during some quiet bits, I couldn’t even hear the music.
In fact I was so annoyed by it that, for a good 20 minutes during the concert, I was mentally composing a strongly-worded letter of complaint to the venue manager. Of course, I never quite got around to writing the actual letter, but in a way I wish I had. It was a false economy to hire such cheap and nasty seating, and really spoiled the enjoyment of one of my favourite works.

Gainful Employment

I got a phone call this afternoon from one of the recruitment consultants I’ve been dealing with recently. And it’s some tentative good news.
One of the companies I had an interview with earlier this week is planning to make me an offer. The details won’t come through till Monday, and there are some formalities to go through as well, but I’m really pleased.

Singing in Christ Church Dublin

The choirs of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin are highly regarded throughout Ireland and beyond for their beautiful music making.

Both the adult cathedral choir and girls’ choir work hard throughout the year to to support the worship in the cathedral; delighting visitors and regular members of the congregation alike.

However, singing in the choir of Christ Church Dublin is not like being in a typical Anglican cathedral choir. There are a few differences which set the music at Christ Church apart from the traditional cathedral set up.

Demanding and Varied Repertoire

Many cathedrals rely on the regular rotation of well-known pieces of music, including lots of ‘old favorites’ from the Victorian era. However, in Christ Church the repertoire is quite varied; the music list regularly containing lesser-known but nonetheless very worthwhile pieces spanning five centuries, but with a particular emphasis on renaissance and modern music.

Attention to Detail

The Christ Church choir enjoys the enviable reputation of being one of Ireland’s finest choirs. Precise phrasing and an attention to detail result in a carefully balanced ensemble and tone. The time dedicated to preparation and rehearsal is slightly greater than in other cathedral choirs, and this investment pays dividends.

There is a half-hour rehearsal before Evensong on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and a full hour before Eucharist and Evensong on Sundays. This generous allocation of time enables the choir to run all the music for the forthcoming service, and to polish the music.

Opportunities for Adult Women

The main cathedral choir is entirely composed of adult singers; comprising female sopranos, male and female altos, and male tenors and basses. Opportunities for adult women to sing church music at this level beyond the collegiate system are very rare, and Christ Church prides itself on the high calibre of female church musicians who perform during the five services a week. In fact it is the only Anglican professional mixed-voice cathedral choir in the British Isles.

Many of the current choir members have had previous experience singing in college choirs, both in Ireland and the UK, and enjoy the chance to further their musical experience in a cathedral choir. Some join the choir as choral scholars, during gap years or while studying in Dublin. Others perform with us for a couple of years after leaving college, or join from other church and cathedral choirs.

Balanced Commitments

The Christ Church choir sing five choral services a week: Evensong at 6.00pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Evensong at 5.00pm on Saturdays, and Eucharist at 11.00am and Evensong at 3.30pm on Sundays. The mid-week commitment is obviously less than that of other cathedrals who sing every day. The service start times during the week are also a bit later in the evening than other choirs, meaning that it’s easier to balance the commitment of singing with that of another career.

Choir members are also offered a variety of different contracts, based upon the commitment a singer can give; typically requiring attendance at 3, 4, or 5 services each week.

Supportive Environment

The Christ Church choir are very lucky to enjoy the full support and encouragement of the clergy and board of the cathedral. Musical excellence is a firm priority within the cathedral, and the music team occupies a central role in the worship and life of the church.

There are around 20 Lay Vicars Choral engaged by the cathedral, forming a choir with the general configuration of 8 sopranos, 4 altos, 4 tenors, and 4 basses – however numbers obviously vary over time. There are also four members of staff in the music department: Judy Martin, Director of Music; Tristan Russcher, Assistant Director of Music; John Mountford, Organ Scholar; and Peter Parshall, Music Development Officer.

Extensive resources are provided to support singers, in addition to the generous rehearsal time. Recordings of music are available on request, as are weekly note-bashing sessions with the organ scholar. An additional allowance is also set aside for voice lessons.

Exciting Opportunities

In addition to the normal weekly services, the choir performs regular concerts throughout the year, and has an active recording, broadcasting and touring schedule. Other musical opportunities exist beyond the cathedral throughout the rest of the city, such as depping at St Patrick’s Cathedral, and performing in Dublin’s numerous choirs, choral societies, opera companies, and orchestras.

To read more about the music at Christ Church Dublin, visit the music department section of the cathedral website.