About Steel City Choristers

Steel City Choristers has a unique back story, philosophy and way of working.

“When Sheffield Cathedral Choir was controversially disbanded in 2020, former members gathered together to reimagine a community-orientated ensemble of mixed children’s and adult voices committed to English church music. The Steel City Choristers are going from strength to strength”.
Classical Music Magazine, Winter 2023 Issue

“Steel City Choristers has rapidly developed very high standards and maintained its membership in these difficult circumstances. The choir is directed by an exceptional musician and, as a result, the musical education given to the choristers is excellent. Equally significant is the evident benefit and fulfilment the choir provide for their audiences, who by intention include many who have never had the opportunity to appreciate first-hand the beauty of choral music.”
Hilary Davan Wetton, Musical Director of the City of London Choir, Artistic Director of the Military Wives Choirs and Patron of Steel City Choristers

A choir of boys, girls and adults

Steel City Choristers brings children and adults together to sing to the highest musical standards.

  • Our Choristers are boys with treble voices and girls of all ages
  • Our teenage boys are known as our Changing Voices
  • Our adult singers are known as the Steel City Clerks.

We welcome boys and girls aged 6-18 regardless of their background or prior musical experience. Our adults are experienced singers with excellent sight reading skills. There are no fees for singing with us.

Our multi-age approach creates a community of singers in which those with more experience serve as inspiring role models and help apprentice our younger and less experienced singers.

An itinerant choir

We rehearse at St John the Baptist church, Owlerton, but we take our singing to different churches and communities around the city. We serve Sheffield and the surrounding area, and want to see more people accessing and experiencing the joys of choral music.

We have sung in a wide range of different locations and venues including churches, community halls, a theme park and even a community allotment!

An advocate for the power of music

We believe in the power of music to change lives. High quality choral music has a transcendent quality that brings a wide range of benefits to the listener.

This is recognised and reflected in many patterns of sacred worship – and we are privileged to be able to share our music as part of the worship in an increasing number of churches. These benefits are also enjoyed by many people in non-religious settings. Wherever we sing, we know our music can help meet people’s emotional and spiritual needs.

We help our choristers understand the music they sing and the role that it has played in Christian worship over the centuries. We also help them appreciate the different types of churches in which they sing.

While we warmly welcome children and adult singers of all faiths and none, our choristers and clerks need to be comfortable participating in Christian acts of worship.

An innovative partner

Our aim is to develop ongoing partnerships through which we can offer our choral music to communities who would not otherwise have access to it. We are always looking for new communities who would like to host us. 

In some situations this will require us to develop a new and innovative approach. Sometimes this will mean working together to plan a project and apply for funding. We aim to be sensitive to the needs of our hosts and work together to select music and design events accordingly.

If you would like to host Steel City Choristers, please contact us at enquiries@steelcitychoristers.org.uk.

A pioneering model

As individual churches and even some cathedrals struggle to maintain their own choir, our aim is to pioneer a new model for sustaining the all-age English choral tradition. A viable choir needs people to sing, people to sing for, and money to cover its costs.

We recruit singers because:

  • Our intensive musical education is free and first class with the opportunity to sing in a wide and diverse range of churches and other venues; and
  • Our youthwork and wider approach puts children at the centre of what we do and means they have fun, build friendships and feel valued; and
  • We are independent and don’t sing every Sunday morning, so we are more accessible to those who want to sing but who would not feel comfortable joining a church, as well as to churchgoers who wouldn’t want to leave their church in order to join a choir.

We have people to sing for because:

  • Churches and other communities invite us to sing for them, which means that we are not responsible for attracting a congregation or raising an audience; and
  • We always tailor our offer to meet the needs of the churches and communities we sing for, so they feel grateful and well served.

We charge no fees, but raise money because:

  • Choristers’ parents value our free musical education, and although under no obligation to give to the charity, many do
  • The organisations for whom we sing value our music and often choose to give us a gift in recognition of this;
  • We attract giving from individuals who support our charitable aims; and
  • We attract grant funding from bodies that recognise the educational and/or artistic value of our work.

Our origin

Steel City Choristers was founded following the unexpected closure of Sheffield Cathedral Choir in July 2020.

Members of the former cathedral choir were committed to continuing to sing together and to keeping choral music alive in the city. Out of the strength of their community came the vision to establish Steel City Choristers as a choir that sings to the standard associated with our country’s cathedrals, but which does so out and about around the city.

Many new members have since joined the choir; yet the cathedral tradition remains at the heart of our approach and the music we sing.