King Edward's School BATH

The Choral tradition at King Edward's

The Choral tradition at King Edward's

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22 January 2018

As Bath’s original grammar school, established by King Edward V1 in 1552, King Edward’s School holds strong links with Bath Abbey, an association that continues to thrive to this day. 

Over Christmas, nowhere was this more evident than during the festive services taking place at the Abbey, as pupils from across the School sang in Bath Abbey choirs.

The choral partnership between King Edward’s and Bath Abbey has been created as part of Bath Abbey’s Schools’ Singing Programme within the city, whereby the Assistant Director of Music and Choral Director for Schools at the Abbey, Shean Bowers, comes in each week to work with KES Singers in both the Senior and Junior School.

I think that joining the Abbey choir is the best thing I've ever done.  Everyone is friendly and it has improved my confidence in singing.  It sounds magical when we sing together as a choir.  It has also encouraged me to join the choirs at school.  The organ sounds amazing and at Christmas the concerts we do are spectacular.

jasper, year 5.

Shean works alongside the KES Director of Music, Rupert Drury, with the Senior School’s auditioned choir, the KES 24, and alongside the Director of Junior School Music, Catherine Hutchings, with the auditioned Junior School’s Tudor Rose Choir, imparting his great knowledge of the English Choral Singing tradition both in traditional works and exciting contemporary pieces, as well as facilitating UK tours with our choirs to famous cathedrals and four performances a year at the Abbey.

Making choral singing and performing in Bath Abbey accessible to all at KES is a key aim of the School’s Music department and we are extremely proud to currently hold the accolade of providing the largest number of boy choristers in the Boys Abbey Choir. With 11 KES pupils currently singing with one or more of the Abbey Choirs, this powerful partnership is set to expand even further over the next few years through some exciting new initiatives which resonate loudly with both the School’s charter, and our historical bond with Bath Abbey.


About Bath Abbey Choir

Bath Abbey Choir comprises three groups - Boys (8 years and upwards), Girls (11 to 18 years) and Men, all of whom play a vital part in the music life of the Abbey and the City. Being a Bath Abbey Chorister is a fantastic experience, as not only does it provide an excellent musical education and great discipline, it is also extremely rewarding, thanks to a mixture of camaraderie, a shared passion for music, and pure enjoyment, unmatched by any other.

The Choirs lead the Sunday Worship on a fortnightly pattern with the Mens Choir usually singing at both morning and afternoon services and alternating with the Boys and Girls Choirs. This gives the Boys and Girls the chance to take it in turns to perform, as well as to have either a free morning or afternoon. Choirmen and Choral Scholars rehearse on Friday evenings, while the Boys and Girls rehearse separately twice a week, after school.

The Abbey Choir also takes numerous trips abroad, enjoying good relationships with churches in Bath's twin cities: Braunschweig (Germany), Aix-en-Provence (France) and Alkmaar (The Netherlands). It also occasionally undertakes a residential week during the summer holiday, to sing daily cathedral services including at prestigious venues such as Exeter and Canterbury Cathedrals. Other highlights include sharing the same stage as Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti at the Three Tenors Concert in Bath’s Royal Victoria Park, performing with the BBC Concert Orchestra on


If parents are interested in finding out more about the School's choral partnership with Bath Abbey, please contact the Music department at the Senior or Junior School.



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