The ASCC Schola Cantorum was established in April 2021 and made their debut later that year, on 14th July 2021 at the Celebration Mass. Tracing its origins back to the Middle Ages, All Saints’ very own Director of Musical Life, Mr Bick has brought this medieval papal tradition to the heart of Ladbroke Grove. Established in the 6th century by Pope Gregory I, the Schola Cantorum, (which literally means ‘school for singing’) specialized in music for papal liturgies and became the model for modern-day cathedral choirs.
One of Mr Bick’s largest changes to the Schola tradition is the introduction of girls to the choir. Traditionally, the Schola would consist only of boys or men, however in 2021 over half of the 14 founding members are female. Today, after a highly competitive audition process and following the recent addition of carefully selected Y7 students, the number of students in the Schola Cantorum stands at 23, with a 50/50 split between boys and girls.
The dedication and determination of our Schola students has been second to none and should serve as inspiration to all our students. They arrive at 8am prompt every morning to rehearse material for their next engagement and to practice their tuning, tempo and aural skills. They also attend individual singing lessons once a week, taught by Mr Slimings, a trained singing professional and recent addition to our staff community.
One of the most exciting aspects of our Schola is the magnitude of opportunities it will create for our students. The long term goal is for the Schola to be singing in mass each week, either in school or next door at St Charles. As times goes on, we hope to expand the locations of the Schola’s performances to beyond the gates of the school and out into the local community. Mr Bick’s ultimate ambition is to take the Schola on tour and is hopeful that the experience will set the students up to gain choral scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge. It’s ambitious, but aspirations are high at All Saints.