Last academic year we were pleased to welcome four new choristers into our Choir; Angelica, Anika, Mila and Tonye all come from musical backgrounds and share a passion for singing. For Angelica and Mila, their journey to the Choir began with one of the Cathedral’s ‘Be a Chorister for a Day’ events, while Tonye frequently attended our Manchester Children’s Choir on a Saturday morning. Anika’s path to the Choir began when her parents enquired about an audition with Christopher Stokes, Organist and Master of the Choir. We look forward to watching each one of them grow and develop throughout their musical journey here at the Cathedral.
Read more about their stories from their parents, below:
‘Angelica was lucky enough to be at the right time and place for the pathway towards a choristership. She has a musical background and was learning violin, piano and voice at home and participating in local school and church musical activities, as and when they were available. However, being a member of a decent choir is such an important part of a musical upbringing that when a leaflet appeared in her school bag advertising a 'BACFAD' event - we realised that we could signpost Angelica, even though our local opportunities weren't inspiring.
Within two weeks of attending the event, we rearranged our hectic family schedule, (Angelica is eldest of three), to begin attending the Saturday morning Manchester Children's Choir, organised by the Cathedral. Very soon, it became clear that she had even more potential that we thought, and we were invited to move forward with the audition process. Angelica was so excited at each stage of the journey and gradually came to realise that not only was she good enough to join Chetham’s School of Music, but that she belonged to the Cathedral family as a chorister.’
‘Anika was an enthusiastic singer ever since she was a toddler. Whilst searching for opportunities for our little girl for good quality training and exposure we came across the choristership opportunity in Manchester Cathedral. Mr Stokes offered Anika an audition when she was six years old and expressed the opinion that she had the talent to become a chorister. As Anika was too young to join the choir at that age she was encouraged to join choristers for rehearsals on Saturdays. Anika thoroughly enjoyed it and always wanted to go back. Choristers are a close knit group and the seniors always encouraged Anika and made her feel at home. When Anika reached the age to join she was inducted into the choir after formal auditions.
Anika loves every moment in the Cathedral and school and is developing her knowledge and talent every day to achieve her ambitions. We are convinced this is the best opportunity for any child aspiring to develop their musical talent; exposure to a high quality singing environment in the Cathedral together combined with the unlimited opportunities that Chetham’s School of Music provides.’
‘Mila really did sing before she could talk!
She was an enthusiastic member of her primary school choir and sang in shows put together by a local children’s theatre company. After taking up the piano at the beginning of Year 5 and performing in a run of amateur dramatic productions, it quickly became clear that Mila was serious about music and keen to pursue her hobby more formally.
We live slightly further away from Manchester than most of the other chorister families and found out about the ‘BACFAD’ events at the Cathedral quite by chance. Despite the prospect of a daily commute, Mila was determined to become a chorister and immediately signed up to attend. She loved the entire experience and went again the next month. Before Mila, or any of her family, realised what was happening, she was going through the Cathedral Choir audition process.
Mila has settled well into the Choir and loves the experience of being with a close-knit group of like-minded friends in such a creative environment. She is extremely happy at Chetham’s where she is encouraged to take on new musical challenges every day. Over the last few months, Mila’s confidence has increased beyond measure and we are absolutely sure that, thanks to ‘BACFAD’, we made the right choice for her education and musical development.’
‘Tonye has loved singing since she was a toddler. She comes from a musical family and travelled to watch her mum sing at several engagements. In 2015, Tonye joined the junior choir at Oldham Hulme Grammar School where she was a pupil.
She enjoyed being in the school choir but on Christmas Day 2016, Tonye and her family wanted to do something different so they attended the service at Manchester Cathedral. At the end of the service, Tonye noticed there were children in the choir and she asked her mum if she could join.
A quick email to the Worship and Music Administrator began the process and Tonye was invited for an informal audition with Mr Stokes; a formal audition at Chetham’s School of Music followed but Tonye did not get through on that occasion. She was invited to join the Children's Choir at the Cathedral on a Saturday morning to improve her voice and build her confidence. Tonye was determined to join the choir and with the support of Andy, her netball team manager at the time, she was allowed to leave training early from Oldham to join the Saturday choir sessions at the Cathedral. A few weeks later, Tonye was invited to audition again and she was determined to get through, practicing on her own several times a day.
Tonye's second audition was successful and by September she was ready to start a new school life and a season of service as a chorister at the Cathedral. Her natural talent has grown incredibly under the tutorship of Mr Stokes. She is very happy to be a chorister and has been able to blend her time at Chethams where she studies piano and violin with her continued commitment to her netball team, winning several tournament titles with her previous and current teams, including being voted as the 2016 Players chosen ‘player of the year’ and her current team being crowned the 2017 Greater Manchester County Tournament champions for her age group. Her family are exceedingly proud of the young lady she is.’