The City of Christchurch was founded in 1850, the first city in New Zealand to receive a charter from Queen Victoria. It is named after the College of Christ Church at Oxford University, where the founders of The Canterbury Association attended. Christ Church Cathedral was consecrated on 1 November 1881, seventeen years after the foundation stone was laid. A choir, based on the English cathedral tradition, was deemed essential for the services of consecration, so the choir of men and boys, and choir school, were founded six months beforehand. The Cathedral Choir has contributed uninterrupted service since 1881, and presently sings six choral services in the Cathedral each week in term time. Following the devastating earthquake of 2011 that damaged the Cathedral in the Square, the Cathedral Choir is temporarily housed in the Transitional Cathedral.
Christ Church Cathedral Choir is the only fully professional choir for trebles and adults in New Zealand and one of only two Anglican cathedral choirs in the Southern Hemisphere with its own choir school, The Cathedral Grammar School. The Cathedral Choir consists of two separate trebles lines: the Boy Choristers and the Girl Choristers. The 20 boys range in age from eight to 13 and sing five services and ten rehearsals each week during school terms as well as civic functions, concerts, and recitals. The Girl Choristers, which just launched in 2020, consist of 14 girls aged 8-13, and sing alternate Thursday Evensongs and one Sunday each term. The back row of the choir consists of lay clerks (highly skilled professional singers) and Godley/Wakefield Choral Scholars (secondary school and university students) who sing the alto, tenor, and bass parts.
Following they devastating earthquake in February 2011, the Cathedral community worshipped in the Chapel at Christ’s College, the private Anglican boys secondary school in Christchurch. In 2013, the Transitional Cathedral (often referred to as the “Cardboard” Cathedral, as cardboard forms much of the structure) was open and the full schedule of Cathedral worship resumed there.
In 2008 the Choir undertook a very successful tour of the USA and UK, singing at many of the great Cathedrals and culminating in a week as residentiary choir at Westminster Abbey. A visit was made to Australia in 2013, where the Choir visited Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Goulburn.
A repeat visit was made to Sydney in 2018, as part of a hugely successful tour to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan.
See the Service Schedule for details.
The Director of Music, Dr John Linker, is always keen to hear from prospective members of the Choir, adults and choristers.
Any boy or girl up to and including Year 6 with a passion for music is encouraged to audition. Please contact Dr Linker for more information.