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  • Our Lady of Lourdes

Schools Singing Programme Choral Director - Southwark Diocese


The Schools Singing Programme of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, part of the National Schools Singing Programme, founded and generously supported by the Hamish Ogston Foundation. The programme currently operates in nine schools in the Southwark, Lambeth, Greenwich and Lewisham, and is seeking to expand further into South London and Kent in the coming months, with a deliberate focus on areas of economic deprivation.


Following the relocation of our current choral director, we are seeking an inspirational musician to succeed them. We are looking for a highly self-motivated and enterprising individual, meticulous in planning and administration, who can deliver our vision for inspirational choral education across our diocesan schools.

We welcome applications from anyone interested in undertaking this role on a full-time or part-time basis and can offer flexibility in working hours.

Background

The choirs of St George’s Cathedral have always been local choirs, drawn primarily from within the cathedral parish and wider areas of Southwark and Lambeth. A liturgical choir has been in operation since the Cathedral opened in 1848, but the current tradition of a professional music department dates back to the year 2000 when Nick Gale became Director of Music. Since then, the choir has released two CDs and appeared on numerous TV and radio broadcasts and undertaken international tours.


The cathedral currently has three choirs. A Junior Choir for those in school years 2-6, the Cathedral Choir which is made up of 22 mixed trebles and 9 professional lay clerks, and the Cathedral Consort which is an SATB youth choir for 12-18 year-olds. For midweek solemnities and extra services, the Lay Clerks form a professional octet with adult sopranos. The department is led by the Director of Music, Jonathan Schranz, and the Cathedral Organist and Assistant Director of Music, Dr Frederick Stocken, and the department is overseen by the Cathedral Dean, Fr Michael Branch.

The vast majority of our choristers are from local state Catholic schools, and many have encountered liturgical singing for the first time through our schools singing programme. The programme currently operates in nine schools in the Southwark, Lambeth, Greenwich and Lewisham areas, and is seeking to expand further into South London and Kent in the coming months, with a deliberate focus on areas of economic deprivation. In addition to our cathedral choirs, based in Elephant and Castle, we hope to start a number of after-school choirs to serve the areas further from the cathedral.

The Role

Singing sessions are led by the Choral Director for whole classes and school choirs. These sessions run during the school terms for around 30 weeks of the year, covering a wide range of sacred and secular repertoire, and seek to support the schools’ overall offer for music within the National Curriculum as well as the wider spiritual life of each school.

The majority of your hours will be spent in diocesan schools running whole-class singing sessions with pupils, leading from the keyboard. This will mostly be in primary education settings, with some secondary schools also. Combining core musical literacy, vocal technique and performance skills you will help to shape our model for liturgical singing in schools and enable schools to collaborate with each other for massed performances at diocesan liturgies, drawing on the curriculum resources and training provided by the National Schools Singing Programme. Practical delivery of the programme takes place during school terms, with time for planning and consolidation during the school holidays.

The Archdiocese of Southwark includes the whole of South London and Kent, stretching from Richmond to Dover and including almost 170 schools in 14 Education Authorities. As such, this role will involve some travel and the role-holder will be expected to organise their sessions geographically to maximise efficiency.

Through this role you will be expected to:

  • Deliver weekly whole-class singing sessions in diocesan primary and secondary schools, working in collaboration with the Director of Music and wider music staff.

  • Identify, recruit, develop and maintain relationships with diocesan schools who may benefit from membership of the Singing Programme.

  • Liaise with the diocesan staff and participating schools to implement a Service Level Agreement which outlines the singing provision and financial contribution sought from schools.

  • Foster links between schools and parishes, liaising with clergy to facilitate singing opportunities for after-school choirs and music provision at Sunday masses.

  • Support the work of the cathedral and diocesan choirs, assisting in weekly rehearsals and deputising for the Director of Music as needed.

  • Additional work may be available as a deputy lay clerk, cantor, accompanist or organist with the Cathedral Choirs for suitable candidates on an ad-hoc basis.

Further details

Reporting to: Director of Music and Diocesan Music Steering Group.

Hours: 14 - 35 hours per week: multiple part-time candidates will be considered.

Salary: £30,000 (pro-rata for reduced hours)

Closing date for applications: 5 pm on Friday 30th June.

Auditions and interviews will take place in the week commencing 10th July.

Safeguarding: As this work involves regulated activity with children, this appointment is subject to a satisfactory Enhanced DBS disclosure.

This is an initial fixed-term appointment for two years, commencing September 2023.

Please send a CV and one-page covering letter to music@stgeorges.org.uk. In your letter please outline the skills and characteristics which you believe make you a suitable candidate for the role. Please also give an indication of whether you are interested in the role as a full-time or part-time appointment.

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Thank you for your interest in the role.

If you wish to arrange an informal discussion please contact Jonathan Schranz on singing@rcaos.org.uk

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