The Westminster Abbey Choir is regarded as one of the finest in the world. The choir consists of thirty boy choristers and twelve adult singers known as Lay Vicars. The young boys, ages 8-13, are pupils at the Westminster Abbey Choir School located in Dean’s Yard near the abbey. The school is the last remaining choir school in the United Kingdom.
It’s believed the choir originated around the year 1560 as the choir of Westminster Abbey have been educated there since Elizabethan times. So, it’s quite an honour and accomplishment to be part of such history.
There are numerous recordings of Westminster Abbey Choir and they travel the world performing concerts, including a performance with the Sistine Chapel Choir at a Papal Mass in St Peter’s Basilica in 2012. The choir also plays a central role in royal, state and national occasions that take place at Westminster Abbey.
If you’re curious to listen to the choir in London, plan to attend a Choral Evensong. There is no charge to attend the service, though do be prepared to dress appropriately as you would at any church. Everyone is welcome. I’ve attended Evensong on numerous occasions, including Easter Sunday. The experience is ecumenical, to say the least, but sitting in Westminster Abbey with over 950 years of history adds to the special experience. You’ll have an appreciation for the abbey unlike most visitors and it is possible emotion will overcome you.
The choir boys and men sing Evensong Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 5 pm. Simply arrive at the main entrance of Westminster Abbey and state you’re there to attend service. No cameras, video or audio recording is allowed. Be sure to check the choral service schedule before arriving at the abbey.
Oftentimes I’ll stroll through Westminster on a Sunday afternoon. One stop I’ll make is Westminster Abbey Cloisters. During summertime, the cloisters are a splendid place to cool off. More than this, I’ll time my arrival near 2:30 pm so I can watch the choir procession from the choir room to the abbey door. With my camera always at my side, I’ve captured many a fun photograph in long exposure form.
I’ll stay in the cloisters throughout the choral service as the choir’s voices float like a graceful feather from inside the church. I suppose this is a casual way to enjoy the music and beautiful voices without properly dressing.
Video of Westminster Abbey Choir During Church Service :
Too, there is no admission fee to visit the cloisters at Westminster Abbey. I enter through Dean’s Yard at the right side of the church. If you’re unfamiliar with a cloister, it is a covered walk or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle. The attachment of a cloister to a church or cathedral, usually indicates it was part of a monastery at some point in the church’s history.
The cloisters would essentially act as a barrier separating the monks from the ‘outside world.’ You could refer to this as an enclosed religious order. Cloister derives from the Latin term, claustrum, or enclosure. You’ll find cloisters at many medieval churches around the world.
Where is Westminster Abbey Cloisters?
GPS Coordinates of Westminster Abbey Cloisters :: 51.4993° N, 0.1273° W
Map Showing the Location of Westminster Abbey Cloisters :