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Norwich School Blog

My Life as a Head Chorister

Hear from pupils Ben Griffiths and Alice Palmer about what it is like to be Head Chorister of the Cathedral Choirs


Ben Griffiths, U4 - Head Chorister, Cathedral Choir

This is my fifth year as a Cathedral Chorister. I joined when I was seven in 2016. I have really enjoyed my time; and have had highlights such as: a choir tour to Germany, sung at big places such as Snape Maltings in Suffolk and St Bartholomew the Great Church down in London and then also the more day to day things such as talking to friends, singing in such a great space like the cathedral and just making music each day makes you feel really good.

I am now Head Chorister which is a great responsibility as it is my job to lead the choir. I was appointed at the end of last year on Zoom, it was one of my proudest moments as all your time in the choir you are looking forward to, hopefully, being told you will be Head Chorister for the next 12 months so as you can imagine I was extremely happy and excited.

Since starting the year in September we have done only a little bit of singing but we were thankfully able to start before the 4 week lockdown, it really does feel like a hole in my lifestyle when we are not doing it as it is such a fundamental part of me. Hopefully we will get back to singing a soon as we can for the Christmas period and get back to making people happy; which, in my opinion is what singing is all about.

Alice Palmer, U6 - Head Chorister, Girls’ Choir

After auditioning in U4 and being successfully accepted in the choir, I joined Norwich Cathedral Girls’ Choir in September 2016 when I was in L5. A girls’ choir week consists of rehearsal and Evensong on Tuesday 4:45-7:45 and rehearsal on Saturday morning 10:30-12. Each half term we sing one Sunday Eucharist as well as any weddings, special occasions, Easter and Christmas services.  

What is exciting about the girls’ choir is girls can join from any school around the county, which means over my five years I’ve got to meet and make friends with lots of new people.  Some of the most exciting services I’ve sung at are the Bishop’s enthronement, Evensong for His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, services during our tour to Bath Abbey and to Sweden, a Christmas concert in the marble hall at Holkham and my sister’s wedding! Although being a chorister has been a very big commitment, meaning I’ve had to balance it around my GCSEs and A-level studies and other extra-curricular activities, it has been so valuable to my time at Norwich School and has taught me how to be organised, concentrated and committed.

Being chosen to be head chorister in my final year of the girls’ choir is incredibly exciting and I’m so honoured! As part of my role it is my responsibility to help our four new choristers find their way through services and rehearsals, as they can be very complicated at first with lots of different pieces of music! I also have to make sure all the girls are looking their best, with their robes looking smart and their hair being very neat, as well as also singing very confidently too!

Although girls’ choir is currently unable to sing together in person due to the lockdown, we have been rehearsing on Zoom and we are excited to hopefully get back into the song school together really soon ready for all our Christmas services, all be it a little different this year.