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How People Become Part of the Westminster Abbey Choir
By WILLIAM KENNEDY
History - Science
The Westminster Abbey choir is an ancient ensemble with deep roots in British history. It has a long tradition of accompanying royal ceremonies both in times of celebration and in periods of mourning, as was the case with the choir's involvement in the memorial proceedings in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.
Per the official Westminster Abbey website, the Westminster Abbey Choir is made up of 30 male students from the Choir School hosted by the abbey and 12 professional adult male singers called Lay Vicars. Lay Vicars are expected to have formal education and professional experience singing at an advanced level.
As far as the boy singers are concerned, they audition for the prestigious ensemble around the age of eight. Potential choristers then go through a five-step process, including an informal and formal audition, choir school visitation by both potential singers and their parents, and academic testing, among other aspects of the vetting process.
Prospective choristers also attend a service, sitting near the choir to experience what it might be like should they be approved to join. As the Westminster Abbey Choir School website notes, those granted admission receive an "all-around education" in addition to an opportunity to sing at high-profile events.