Like the rest of the choir, probationers wear a red cassock with a white ruff. They attend the first hour of the Friday practice when the Director of Music takes them through some singing games and the hymns and anthem for the following Sunday. At the same time he is introducing them to the fundamentals of musical notation and the way music fits into and enhances the church service.
On Sunday mornings there is a practice at 9.00 am before the 10.00 am service. The probationers listen and follow the more complex music being rehearsed – i.e. psalms, mass settings and anthems, and learn the routines of processing, holding music correctly and watching the conductor. During the service they will normally attend the Children’s groups in the Vestry, returning to take communion or receive a blessing and take part in the anthem.
When the Director of Music thinks they are ready to be promoted to be Junior Choristers, Probationers are given a short test when they will be asked to
• Clap back a short rhythm
• Name two or three things that help you to sing well – such as opening your mouth, breathing well, standing straight, watching the conductor.
Choir promotions take place at the end of a Sunday morning service.