There has been an unbroken line of choristers singing in New College since the late 14th century when the college was founded. Choristers sing services, make recordings, and participate in concerts and tours, in recent years to the USA, Japan, Australia and all around Europe. In return for these duties, they receive substantial bursaries, and frequently go on to secure music scholarships to their secondary schools, building on the unique musical training a choristership provides.
New College Choir has an international reputation and the choristers receive an intense musical education. Nevertheless, a fundamental aim is that there should be a balance between the boys' musical and academic lives. Choristers at New College lead busy lives, but the routine is less demanding than that in many cathedrals: the boys are not required at Christmas or at Easter; nor do they sing on Sunday mornings.
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Chorister voice trials are held in January when a boy is in Year 2 (aged 6-7), for entry to Year 3 the following September. In addition to the standard Year 3 entry assessments in English, Maths and reasoning, the New College Organist, Mr Robert Quinney, hears boys sing a simple piece, as does the School’s Director of Music, Mr Thomas Neal. Boys are also invited to play any musical instruments they are learning.