When you apply to Cambridge through UCAS you may choose to apply to a particular College. If you apply to Caius and are successful in gaining an academic offer and you would like to apply for a Choral Award, you need to submit your Choral Award application form by 15th February as indicated on the University’s Choral Awards web pages, with Caius as your first-choice choir. Choral Awards are compatible with reading any subject at Caius. Most applicants who are successful in gaining both an academic place and a Choral Award at Cambridge do so at their first-choice college, so choosing which college to apply to in the first place, by 15th October, is a crucial step.
A good way to help you choose which college to apply to is to attend either or both of the intercollegiate Choral Awards Open Days. At the Open Day held in the Spring you will have a chance to hear some of the choirs in action and to meet some Directors of Music. Full details will become available on the University’s Choral Awards web pages. In September you can attend a Vocal Assessment Open Day, at which you undertake a mock audition and discover which is the highest college on your list of preferences that is interested in considering you for a choral award. Further information can be found in the Notes for Candidates. However it is not necessary for you to attend either of these events. An informal audition can be arranged at any time during the year by sending a message direct to the Precentor, Matthew Martin.
The choir has 24 singers. The make-up is in the range of 8-9 sopranos, 4-5 altos (male and female), 4-5 tenors and 4-6 basses. Each year about 7-9 new choral scholars join the choir spread across the voices and there are always vacancies in all voice parts. If you are unsure which voice part you should sing, you can discuss this with the Precentor if you come for an informal audition.
Preparing for an Audition
Vocal potential and a good ear are the two main qualities being looked for at the audition. You should prepare a piece to sing that you enjoy performing and that feels technically comfortable. Some applicants may already have had considerable experience at sight-reading but others will not, and this is taken into account as part of the application process. For those with limited experience in these areas it is worth trying the sample tests on the University website and spending some time at a keyboard pitching intervals up or down with the octave and picking out notes within a chord. No particular vocal characteristics are expected or prioritised. Voices both with and without vibrato are welcomed. Some applicants will have had vocal training and taken grade exams in singing, yet others may have had relatively little vocal training and experience; this factor is also taken into account during the auditions.
Applicants for Music
If you are applying to study Music at Caius you will also be able to discuss this aspect of your application if you visit the College in advance for an informal audition with the Precentor.