~ History ~

1909 Monks
St Benedict's Abbey Choir

Ealing Abbey Choir was founded in 1910 by Dom Cyril Rylance (1880–1958), a monk of the monastery, coming into existence as the Catholic Church in England was rediscovering its musical heritage through the works of Renaissance composers and Gregorian chant. The choir’s repertoire of Gregorian chant and Latin polyphony today also includes new works by twentieth century composers such as Howells, Duruflé, Messiaen and Taverner.

The Abbey Choir consists of twenty treble choristers and six professional lay clerks. Auditions to the choir are held throughout the year for boys with musical promise. Those offered a place become a probationer for one year before they are accepted as a chorister. The choristers are all current pupils of St Benedict’s School, Ealing, and each receive scholarships for singing and instrumental lessons.

All the choristers play a leading role in the musical life of the St Benedict’s School. As part of their weekly routine, the choristers rehearse five times a week before and after school with a strict routine designed to cover the music required each week, as well as external engagements.

The Choir’s principal commitment revolves around the liturgy in the Abbey Church each week and especially during Christmas and Easter. The choir also undertakes concerts, tours and recordings, notably a recording of Bruckner’s motets with ‘Herald’. In recent years the choir has toured Barcelona, Switzerland and Rome and performed ‘Carmina Burana’ with the Ealing Choral Society at Cadogan Hall and also for the BBC.