A day in the life of
Like any pupil doing extra stuff out of school, like sports, or anything, you end up having
busy days as a Chorister. At the Boarding House, we get up at 6.45am and have breakfast in the dining hall, which is in the school right next to the Boarding House. (In the book, that's where the secret passageway begins!) We get a choice of breakfast, like cereals, toast, full cooked breakfast… YAY!
Then we meet up with other Choristers who aren’t boarding and one of the teachers walks us over to the Cathedral where Choir practice starts at 8.15am. After Choir, we go to school and have a normal day of lessons, playtime, lunch, sport, etc. Then there's Prep Club to do homework at 4-5pm, or other after-school clubs to choose from, or we go straight to Choir practice again. We get to wear really cool, Harry-Potter-style gowns to walk across from the school to the Cathedral to practise, then we sing at Evensong.
Girls and boys take it in turns to sing at Evensong during the week, but not on Wednesdays when it’s just the grown-ups. After that, at 6.20pm, non-boarders get collected and boarders have dinner in the dining hall. Sometimes there are theme nights for dinner, like Italian night when all the food is Italian style, like pizza, or Mexican night when we have tortillas and other Mexican food. It’s cool.
After that, if it's dry we play outside, then there's free time in the Hub followed by hot chocolate, which is one of my favourite things, and then bed. Juniors go to bed earlier than seniors. We share our dorm with other boys in the same age group and the girls are on a different floor. Then, there’s ‘lights out’ at 9.00pm for seniors (because of our early start the next day) and, in the book, that’s when I tiptoe out to follow the secret passage to the Cathedral!
At weekends (before COVID-19 and lockdown), girls and boys took it in turns, every other weekend, to sing at the Cathedral. Sometimes there are special concerts and services where we sing together. There’s rehearsal then Evensong on Saturdays and, on Sundays, there’s early rehearsal, Communion Service, break, afternoon rehearsal then Evensong. If we like, we can stay in the boarding house for lunch, but I normally go into town with Mum and Dad and Mum uses her mobility scooter because she can’t always walk properly (the same cringe-worthy Industrial-Revolution-vs-Flower-Power scooter that we wrote about in the book)! We have a sandwich and go to a coffee shop or sit on the Cathedral Green if the weather is warm.
Life is busy as a Chorister, but it’s also great fun and friendly and it feels like we have a Chorister family. I especially love singing in concerts and when the Cathedral is lit just by candles and going on ‘outreach’ visits where we can share what we do with children in other schools.
We have our own special Chorister Tutor who we can talk to if we get tired or worried and we have meetings to see if there’s anything we’d like to be done differently.
Christmas is the coolest time. OK, it’s busy but we can board if we like, we go on trips like to the cinema or bowling or other things and Santa ALWAYS manages to find us on Christmas eve! The Boarding Master even put snow under the Christmas tree this year and Santa left his footprints in it... BTW, Santa and the Boarding Master take the same size shoes! Then, on Christmas morning, we wake up the Dean and the Director of Music by singing carols under their windows. : - ) It’s normally cold and frosty and the buildings are really old and it feels just like Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol… the real one and the Muppets' version. Cool. Then, between singing at Communion, Matins and Evensong (which sound really great and Christmassy) there’s a big Christmas dinner for all the Choristers and families. We then have our own family Christmas celebrations on Boxing Day onwards, so it feels like we get Christmas twice!
If you think you’d like to be a Chorister, you could phone the school on 01392 255298 to ask about it or try the ‘Be a Chorister for a Day’ at the Cathedral. You can read more about it at: https://www.exetercathedralschool.co.uk/choristers and https://www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk/worship-music/music-choirs/cathedral-choir/
This is me with the REAL Edward (but I'm not sure whether he can belch a full chromatic scale like Edward in the book)!