Northern Cathedral Singers (NCS)

RSCM Northern Cathedral Singers (formerly RSCM Voices North) is a training choir which sings approximately 12 services per year in cathedrals, abbeys, minsters and priories across the North of England, aiming for the highest musical standards. Services normally take place on Saturdays (and occasionally on the May Day Bank Holiday Monday). In addition, there are normally two preliminary full-day sessions in January to rehearse music for the year ahead.

We have over 100 singers in the choir but they do not all sing together! Instead, a balanced choir is formed from our membership lists and members are invited to sing at various venues. The boys and girls are usually asked to sing at six events per year, whilst the lower parts are rostered to sing at between three and six events each year. Services are normally evensongs and we meet to rehearse about four hours before the start of the service. The choir’s repertoire is firmly based on the Cathedral choral tradition.

There are two groups within the choir: Boys (supported by counter-tenors, contraltos, tenors and basses) and Girls (supported by contraltos, tenors and basses).

Singers provide their own music and are responsible for learning it themselves in advance of the scheduled rehearsals.

Director of Northern Cathedral Singers

Andrew Reid, Director of the RSCM, directs the choir.

Who can apply?

  • Members of RSCM affiliated churches, choirs and schools with the signed support of the choir trainer
  • Subscribing Individual or Student Members of the RSCM

Trebles (Boys): Minimum age is normally 9 at the time of audition. The upper limit depends on the likelihood of the boy’s treble voice lasting the season.

Sopranos (Girls): Minimum age is normally 10 at the time of audition, and the maximum age is 18.

Contraltos (Girls and Women): Minimum age is normally 15 at the time of audition.

Altos/Counter-tenors (Men): Minimum age is normally 15 at the time of audition.

Tenors and Basses (Men): Minimum age is normally 16 at the time of audition.

Admission to the choir is by audition. Re-auditions are normally held every year for boys and girls. CATB members of the choir must also be prepared for an annual audition.

All adult singers, i.e. those who are over the age of 18 years, complete a declaration form to comply with RSCM Safeguarding requirements before they are allowed to sing at RSCM Northern Cathedral Singers events.

Annual Subscriptions (2017)

Adult: £40
Singer 18 years old and younger: £20


  • We do not want any young people to be prevented from becoming members of the choir through financial reasons, and some bursaries are available. A bursary form is available here.
  • Individual/Student RSCM member 25% discount, i.e. £30 for adults and £15 for children.
  • If more than one family member is joining the choir 50% discount (on full price) for second person, i.e. £20 for additional adult and £10 for each additional child.

What happens at the audition?

All singers aged 18 and under

The audition consists of three elements:

  • You will need to sing an anthem from the RSCM Bronze Collection (Book One or Book Two). Most choirs sing at least one of these pieces already so there is very likely to be one or more that you know – your own Choir Director can help you to choose this and to prepare it in advance.
  • We will give you a couple of short sight-reading exercises – we are not necessarily looking for perfection first time but, with some help, we will assess how quickly you can learn. We may also use these exercises to ask some simple questions about the music; for instance, about the time signature, accidentals, slurs and note names, to see what you know about reading a musical score.
  • We will give you a simple range test to see how high and low you can sing.


The audition consists of four elements:

  • You will need to prepare a piece in advance, which will be specified by the RSCM, and which will typically be a piece which has recently been added to the repertoire or which is planned for the coming season.
  • We will give you a sight-reading exercise. For CATB singers we do expect fluent sight-singing ability and, as a guide to the standard required, we would expect singers to be able to be able to read competently a piece similar to, say, Stanford in C.
  • We will ask you to sing a short extract from a psalm from the Parish Psalter, which we will choose at random on the day, although you will have an opportunity to look through the psalm and the chant briefly before launching into it.
  • We will give you a simple range test.

In all applicants we expect the ability to work together as a team and represent the highest standards of the RSCM. A good sense of humour helps too!

Results of auditions will be notified through your choir director (under 18s) or directly (over 18s) as soon as possible after the audition.

Where and when are the auditions?

Auditions for the choir take place each year in October to December. Once all the applications have been received, we will contact you to arrange an audition at a suitable time and place, as close as practicable to your home.

How do I apply?

New applicants should submit the form below to the choir’s administrator, Karen Banks, or you can contact her by phone at 07753826209, or by email at

Download the application form for the 2017 season