Thirty-four children are preparing to start the new prep school chorister programme at Bilton Grange Prep, part of the Rugby School Group.
The boys and girls aged between six and 11 will start in September on the unique scheme.
Bilton Grange held its first dedicated Chorister Experience Day last November, when 65 would-be choristers came from all over the country to get a taste of what it would be like to become a member of this new independent school chorister programme.
They enjoyed some professional singing coaching, explored a range of musical instruments and joined Rugby School choristers in chapel for a rehearsal of Evensong. They also took part in some of Bilton Grange’s co-curricular activities, including sport and art.
Auditions took place earlier this year when each child sang a short piece; played their chosen instrument; took part in some games to test their sense of pitch and aural awareness and had their reading tested. They also chatted to the staff about their enthusiasm for singing and some of their other interests.
Eighteen boys and sixteen girls were successful and enjoyed a “welcome day” at Bilton Grange in April. They have also attended rehearsals at Bilton Grange, learning to sing together. In June, they gave a short performance in the school chapel conducted by Richard Tanner, Rugby School’s director of music.
Alongside Bilton Grange’s full academic and co-curricular provision, the 34 choristers will have high-level training, including instrumental studies, music theory, aural training and vocal coaching. Their schedule will comprise a daily morning rehearsal for Evensong sung in either Bilton Grange’s chapel or that of Rugby School. The choristers will be free at the weekends.
A second Chorister Experience Day will take on place on 4 November 2022 in order to start the recruitment process for the 2023/24 academic year.