Lay clerk vacancies
1 x Tenor and 1 x Bass
Start: 2023 (date negotiable)
Salary: £9,000 pa
Hours: c.12 hrs/week during term time
Accommodation: 3 months’ free accommodation at start of employment
Other commitments/opportunities: Regular broadcasts, concerts, recording projects. Scotland’s only Cathedral with a tradition of regular choral services
The Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral
The Cathedral is unique in Scotland in maintaining regular weekday choral services in the Anglican tradition, with music an essential part of its pattern of worship. Lay clerks are a valued part of the cathedral community and typically combine their work at St Mary’s with other professions and/or music-making elsewhere. Edinburgh is justly celebrated as a city full of opportunities and history. The Cathedral, with its distinctive three spires, is located in the heart of the west end, a few minutes’ walk from Haymarket train station with direct trains to London and on the tram and bus route to Edinburgh airport. Every August the Edinburgh International Festival draws visitors for the world’s biggest arts’ festival and the Edinburgh Fringe. St Mary’s is an important centre during the Festival with daily concerts, art exhibitions, and other events.
The choir comprises the choristers (aged 9-14) who all attend St Mary’s Music School, Scotland’s only choir school, six lay clerks and up to six choral scholars. In addition to the pattern of choral services the choir is known for its recording work, concerts, and broadcasts. Recent recordings have included single-composer discs from Tudor England (Taverner, Sheppard, and Mundy respectively), Bruckner (a Gramophone Recommended Recording), Gabriel Jackson, Stravinsky, and Kenneth Leighton. The choir will be recording again with Delphian Records in May 2023.There are annual broadcasts of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio Three and other recent events have included music for the Steve Coogan film The Lost King, a collaboration with the Traverse Theatre and recording for BBC Scotland’s Watchnight service at Christmas. Previous choir tours have included Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong, central Europe and North America.
Rehearsals and services
During choir term lay clerks sing at six services per week:
- Tuesday–Friday – Choral Evensong
- Rehearsal at 4.55pm, service at 5:30pm
- With Tuesday and Thursday rehearsals 6:15-7:00pm
- Sunday – Eucharist
- Rehearsal at 9:45am, service at 10:30am
- Sunday – Choral Evensong
- Rehearsal at 2:45m, service at 3:30pm
- Tuesday–Friday – Choral Evensong
There is not usually any commitment on Mondays or Saturdays.
Choir term broadly follows the St Mary’s Music School term dates, except that the choir sings on 22nd, 24th and 25th December, for Holy Week and two weeks (three Sundays) during the Edinburgh Festival in August. There are usually two weeks’ holiday after Christmas and around Easter and the summer term runs until the last week of June. There are no choir commitments in July and there are also breaks after the Festival before term starts in September. There are half-term holidays each term during which the lay clerks do not sing services.
In addition to the contracted hours above, there are occasional weddings, funerals, extra concerts, broadcasts etc., for which extra fees are payable.
Child Protection and Safeguarding
Lay clerks have no responsibility for the supervision of choristers but are required to complete a basic disclosure with Disclosure Scotland. They are also required to attend training once a year with the Head of Guidance at St Mary’s Music School and follow the Cathedral’s Child Protection and Safeguarding policies.
Person Specification and Applying
You will have existing experience singing choral music at a high standard, be a confident sight-reader, be happy holding a part by yourself and preparing music in advance where necessary. You will also enjoy working in a team.
To apply please send a copy of your CV and names and email addresses for two referees (who we contact after audition) to email@example.com. If you are applying from some distance away, we might ask you to send a short recording of you singing.
Potential applicants might first like to have an informal conversation with a former lay clerk about the choir and commitment, and living and working in Edinburgh. Charles Marshall, a lay clerk here last year, would be happy to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org).