St Albans Cathedral Choir

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St Albans Cathedral Choir
St Albans Cathedral
  • ~25 boy choristers aged 7–14
  • 12 adult Lay Clerks
Music Director
  • Andrew Lucas (Master of the Music)
  • Tom Winpenny (Assistant Master of the Music)
Headquarters Sumpter Yard, Holywell Hill, St Albans
Affiliation St Albans Cathedral

St. Albans Cathedral Choir is an English Cathedral Choir based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. It is made up of around 25 boy choristers aged 7–14 and 12 adult Lay Clerks.[1] In 2003 it appeared in the coronation scene of the film Johnny English. In addition to the original boys-only choir, there is also the St Albans Abbey Girls' Choir founded in 1996.


Unlike many Cathedrals, St Albans does not have its own boarding Choir School (although the choir has strong links with many local day schools, including St Albans School and St Columba's College, St Albans), meaning that services and rehearsals have to be fitted around a normal school week. Choristers are therefore expected to sing at the Cathedral both before and after school on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, on which days Choral Evensong is sung, in addition to an evening rehearsal on Friday and the commitment of up to four services over the weekend. A typical week will involve around 18 hours of singing, and over his seven-year career in the choir a Chorister will spend approximately six months' worth of that singing in the Cathedral.[2]


The choir often tours other countries to perform concerts, with past tours including the United States, France, the Netherlands and Italy.


The annual Choir Camp was founded by Peter Hurford when he was organist at St Albans and held in the hamlet of Luccombe. The tents used by the choir remained the same since the first Choir Camp in 1958, with most being army surplus from the Second World War. On the Sunday the choir would sing Choral Eucharist in St Mary's, Luccombe for the parishioners, and on each day the choristers and layclerks would go on hikes, often over ten miles in length, around the Somerset countryside. The Camp celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.

The Choir also holds an annual cricket match and football match using the grounds of local schools. The games are played between the two 'sides' of the choir, known in the English choral tradition as Decani and Cantoris.


The choir is directed by the Master of the Music, currently Andrew Lucas. The Assistant Master of the Music is currently Tom Winpenny.

Masters of the Music

  • 1302 Adam
  • 1498 Robert Fayrfax
  • 1529 Henry Besteney
  • 1820 Thomas Fowler
  • 1831 Edwin Nicholls
  • 1833 Thomas Fowler
  • 1837 Thomas Brooks
  • 1846 John Brooks
  • 1855 William Simmons
  • 1858 John Stocks Booth
  • 1880 George Gaffe
  • 1907 Willie Lewis Luttmann
  • 1930 Cuthbert E. Osmond
  • 1937 Albert Charles Tysoe
  • 1947 Meredith Davies
  • 1951 Claude Peter Primrose Burton
  • 1957 Peter Hurford
  • 1978 Stephen Darlington
  • 1985 Colin Walsh
  • 1988 Barry Rose
  • 1998 Andrew Lucas

Assistant Masters of the Music

The assistant master of music at St Albans may also be the Master of Music at St Albans School. For example, John Rutter's Donkey Carol is dedicated "to Simon Lindley and the choir of St. Albans School".

  • John Cawley 1908–09[3]
  • George C. Straker 1921–30
  • Sydney John Barlow 1936–39[4]
  • Frederick Carter 1948–51
  • John Henry Freeman 1951–70[5]
  • Simon Lindley 1970–75
  • John Clough 1975–76
  • Andrew Parnell 1976–2001
  • Simon Johnson 2001–08
  • Tom Winpenny 2008–current

Notable Ex-Choristers


St Albans Cathedral Choir appeared in the 2003 film Johnny English starring Rowan Atkinson and John Malkovich as the choir of Westminster Abbey during the coronation scene.


  1. Choir Website
  2. [1]
  3. Dictionary of organs and organists. First Edition. 1912. p.257
  4. Who's who in Music. Fourth Edition. 1962. p.14
  5. Who's Who in Music. Fourth Edition. 1962. p.243

External links