How to apply

Choral Award applications are a completely separate process from academic applications, and may only be made once you have received your academic offer (some time in January for undergraduate applicants; postgraduate timelines are more flexible).

The application has four stages:

1. Complete the online application form by 15 February.

Please note that your first-choice college MUST be the college from which you have received an academic offer.

2. Ensure your referee completes the online reference form by 1 March.

3. Submit your video recording by 10 March. You will receive instructions on how to do this when you submit the application form.

4. Attend your audition(s) during the Choral Trials in mid March. In 2024 these take place 18 – 20 March.

What do I need to do for the pre-recorded video submission?

You will be required to submit a video-recording in advance, of yourself performing an accompanied piece of your choice, which should be something that demonstrates the suitability of your voice to the traditional choral repertoire. The piece can be sacred or secular but should not exceed four minutes in length. A performance with pre-recorded accompaniment is fine.

If you do not have access to an accompanist, you may sing one of a number of set pieces for which we can provide pre-recorded accompaniment (please visit this page to download sample scores and audio files).

What will happen during the Choral Trials in March?

Your central audition will take place in front of two or more of the Directors of Music from your college preference list, and will consist of:

-A live, unaccompanied performance of a traditional song (folk song), which should be one of the pieces in this document.

-Range tests and aural tests, e.g. recognising intervals, singing notes in a chord, singing back a short melody, and so on.

-A short piece of sight-reading, most likely 16th-century polyphony (often in Latin, but don’t let this worry you!).

You may also be invited for a second audition with the Director of Music of any of the choirs on your list of choices, and some Chaplains also like to interview candidates. These additional meetings will be organised by the individual Colleges.

What are the possible outcomes of my application?

We aim to notify you of the outcome of your application as soon as possible after the March Choral Trials. You will be considered for a Choral Award and/or a choral volunteer place according to the order of preference expressed on your application form. Possible scenarios are:

-You are offered a Choral Award by your first-choice college (‘College A’, which must be the college from which you have received an academic offer).

-You are accepted by a college further down your list (‘College B’):

either as a volunteer, if you have indicated on your application that you do NOT wish to be considered for academic transfer to that college (College B);

or if you have indicated that you DO wish to be considered for an academic transfer to that college (College B), discussions will be had between the two colleges (A and B). The transfer may be successful, in which case you would become a full member of College B and hold a Choral Award, or the transfer may not be possible, in which case you would remain a member of College A but sing with the choir of College B. (It is not possible to hold a Choral Award at a College of which you are not a member.)

-You are unsuccessful, in which case you should contact the Choral Awards Co-ordinator for advice. There are plenty of choral opportunities in Cambridge for all levels of experience – if you want to sing in a choir there will be a place for you, with or without a Choral Award!