JOINING THE CHOIR
Exeter College Choir consists of 24 singers drawn from Exeter College and the wider University of Oxford.
The Weekly Commitment
Members of the Choir sing three services per week under the direction of the two student organ scholars, presently Christopher Holman, a second-year doctoral student reading music, and Miles Swinden, an incoming undergraduate also reading music. The normal weekly schedule includes services every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday evenings throughout term with rehearsal prior to each, and a general rehearsal every Wednesday evening.
One of the things that's special about Exeter choir is that we're student-led, which makes for one of the friendliest and most supportive communities of any Oxford college choirs. Yet we still work to a very high musical standard: we make professional recordings, perform concerts and organise outreach events throughout the United Kingdom (in February at St Paul's Cathedral in London), and take an international concert tour every summer (in 2021 to Berlin and Saxony). Through these many opportunities, we explore the great breadth of choral repertoire, from early medieval music to newly-composed works. We also organise plenty of fun social events throughout the academic year in Oxford, and being in the choir is a fantastic way to meet people from the wider university in all stages of their academic life working in every discipline. Many of our singers go on to become lifelong friends.
Singers are either choral scholars, known at Exeter as academical clerks, who audition as part of the University's Choral Awards scheme and study specifically at Exeter College, or choral bursars, who are members of any college and audition whenever the choir has openings. Regardless of status, everyone in the Choir is treated equally, receiving the same compensation: a small stipend, individual singing lessons with Carris Jones throughout term, and dinners following every service (formal on Sundays, informal on weekdays).
We do not expect any amount of choral or singing experience, though due to the sheer amount of repertoire our schedule demands, sight reading skills are a necessity. If you have any questions or wish to schedule an audition please email Christopher Holman. For the audition, please prepare one vocal solo of your choice in any language (memorisation is not required). We will then ask you to sing some simple vocal exercises to explore your range, and sightread a piece of Renaissance polyphony with the accompanist playing every part but yours.
Applications for choral scholarships (called 'academical clerkships' at Exeter) for the 2021–2022 academic year have closed; please check back for information about 2022–23 in August 2021. To become an academical clerk, prospective candidates must apply during the University's annual choral awards audition period, which normally closes at the end of September. If a candidate is accepted, they will need to apply to the University, and then be accepted specifically at Exeter College — we strongly suggest you mark Exeter as your first choice for college in the application process. If a student is nominated for a choral award but is accepted at another college, they can still sing in Exeter College Choir, but as choral bursars (with the same duties and compensation). If you do not wish to apply for an academical clerkship, we hold general auditions for choral bursars over the summer, especially in the weeks leading up to Michaelmas term (which begins in October). For more details, please visit the College's webpages on organ and choral awards here.
Organ Scholars at Exeter College effectively fulfil the role of organists and directors of music while receiving organ, conducting, and singing lessons in addition to a stipend. The next opening is in the 2022–2023 academic year, and the audition is tentatively scheduled for September 2021.