SPRING TERM will start on 16th January, and we will be working on Zoom until further notice.
We are busy working on a new programme in response to our recent survey of members.

Click here for the MEMBERS area to access practice videos, rehearsal scores, and OYC policy documents.

2020 Term Dates

Autumn 2020: 5 Sept - 12 Dec (Half-term break 24 & 31 Oct)

Our Spring Opera at SJE scheduled for 28th/29th March 2020 has been postponed.

Prep 1 & 2

Prep 1 & 2 Choir, formed in 1996, is our starter choir for boys and girls aged 4-7. There are no auditions—the thirty or so children in each choir are encouraged to enjoy music and develop their potential in a friendly atmosphere.

The choir meets on Saturday mornings during school term from 9.15-10.15 (Prep 1 - junior class) and 10.30-12.00 (Prep 2 - senior class) in the Anna Haxworth Music Building at Cherwell School. The sessions are structured but informal, and are run by Monica Nelson & Lucia Boué, with the help of students from the senior choir.

Within this framework we explore a variety of musical styles, concepts and themes, drawing from both traditional repertoire and other less familiar sources. During the morning the children have the opportunity to work both together and in groups, to allow further development of their aural and other musical skills.

Junior Boys & Boys

Junior Boys' & Boys' Choir is directed by Peps Martin-Smith & David Palmer. It provides musical and vocal training for boys aged 6-12 (approximately Year 3 and up) who enjoy singing a wide variety of repertoire. Singers are encouraged to enjoy music and develop their potential in a friendly atmosphere, with sessions including work on ear-training and aural skills, as well as singing from written notation. Voice training methods are the same as those of the girls' choir.

The Boys' Choir provides a lively alternative to the church music tradition for boys who want to sing, though each year some of our boys go on to win scholarships to college or cathedral choirs.

The Junior Boys meet from 9.15 to 10.15, and the Boys from 09.15 to 11.00 on Saturday mornings during school terms in the Anna Haxworth Music Building at Cherwell School.

Junior Girls

Junior Girls' Choir is for girls in school years 4, 5 & 6. The choir has a wide and varied repertoire and there are opportunities for both formal and informal performances each year. The aims of the choir are to foster a love of singing, to introduce elements of vocal technique and to develop initial part singing, sight singing and musicianship skills.

Most girls audition for the Senior Choir when they transfer to their senior school. Entry to the Junior Choir is through an informal audition, the main criteria being the ability to hold a simple melodic line.

The Junior Choir meets on Saturday mornings during school term from 9.15 to 11.15 starting in the Main Hall and finishing in the Anna Haxworth Music Building at Cherwell School. It is directed by Louise Taylor and Tom Anderson.

Senior Girls

Senior Girls' (Oxford Girls' Choir) was formed by Richard Vendome in 1984. It was the first choir of its kind in England to develop girls' singing as a musical medium in its own right, and not just as a substitute for the adult or the boy's voice. Several former members have gone on to become professional singers or instrumentalists.

The choir meets on Saturday mornings during school term in the Main Hall at Cherwell School. All applicants are auditioned, but girls are welcome to attend a free taster session first. The audition is meant to show what you CAN do, not what you can't! Singers should bring along a piece they know well, and will also be given some simple musical tests. Instrumentalists may play a short piece if they wish. Please contact the Administrator ( if you would like to speak to the Musical Director.

The Choir

Oxford Youth Choirs performs a wide range of music, including jazz, opera and most areas of choral music, with regular workshops given by visiting specialists. The choir provides a thorough technical training, and advanced members have individual lessons. The senior choir has over 50 members, aged 11-18, from state and independent schools in the Oxford area, and a teaching staff of two. Some of the older girls are able to undertake paid work and help with the running of the junior choirs.

The choir has made three award-winning CDs of music by Hildegard of Bingen with the ensemble SINFONYE, and three others of medieval music. It is also active in the world of contemporary music, and has commissioned or premièred many new compositions and arrangements, including:

  • Judith Bingham: The Ghost of Combermere Abbey
  • Howard Haigh: The Oxford Mummers
  • Edward Dudley-Hughes: Ascention (John Donne)
  • Kenneth Leaper: Maids of Masura, A Page From our Pillow Book, Butterflies, Sutra
  • Francis Pott: Nunc Natus Est Altissimus
  • Roderick Williams: Alice in Wonderland (opera), Set me as a Seal, and many original arrangements of jazz standards
  • Stevie Wishart: Sub Rosa
  • Emily Levy: Unending Sky

Oxford Youth Choirs performs regularly, and has sung in Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Malta, Ireland and Wales. In 2005 the Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi, based on past and present Oxford Youth Choirs members and others, filmed the programmes "Vivaldi's Women" and "Gloria" in the church of La Pietà in Venice, recorded a programme for the Radio 3 series "The Choir". The Chamber Choir also sings at functions and events at venues in the area including recently Oxford Castle, the Ashmolean Museum, Highclere Castle, the Bodleian Library in Oxford and various Oxford colleges. In December 2014 the Chamber Choir took part in concerts in Reims, France under the direction of Edward Higginbottom to commemorate the truce of Christmas 1914.