What They Say

The courses have been growing in popularity since our first year but it’s hard to capture what makes them special. It’s often best to let others speak for us:

PRESS

“If they are already interested in choral singing, they won’t get a better or more enjoyable week of tuition anywhere on the planet.”
The Times

“Any teenager who wants to take singing seriously is guaranteed a whale of a time.”
Daily Telegraph

“The standard of choral music in cathedral and collegiate foundations has never been higher. This is in part due to the dedicated work of Ralph Allwood, whose Eton Choral Courses have for many years provided young people, particularly aspiring choral scholars, with the highest quality training in vocal and choral techniques.”
The Hexam Courant, England

“It is easy to see why Ralph Allwood is such an important figure in the choral field. Not only does he possess the technical skills of the best choral trainers and conductors but he also has tremendous enthusiasm, charisma and a wonderful sense of humour.”
Friends of Cathedral Music

“Ralph Allwood, the finest trainer of young choirs in the country today.”
The Times

PRAISE

“I think that it is wonderful that [they] can provide such fine training, with a wealth of very able teachers, year after year. I am sure that many conductors of different choirs will recognise, as I do, the great value to Cathedral Choirs, of your [their] training.”
Sir David Willcocks CBE

“From small beginnings, the annual courses have gained real place in Britain’s musical life. There has always been much praise for the standard of tuition offered and for the pleasant atmosphere. Additionally, the public concerts and broadcasts have added to the renown of the choirs.”
Sir David Willcocks CBE

“The first exciting thing that happened to me was attending an Eton Choral Course. I was at a school where sport had far more kudos than music, but suddenly here I was among people who were funny, clever, attractive, with all the teenage vices, but who were committed to singing … It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that the Courses changed my life. For me it was not so much a musical thing, but a social one. It was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best week of my life at that point and I have since gone back many times. Many of my best friends are people I met through the choral courses. I hugely value the immense networking resource it provides, and it gives me great pleasure that I bump into people who I know from courses almost continually in anything musical with which I happen to be involved. These courses are absolutely invaluable.”
Claire Booth, soprano

“If I had to sum up the Eton Choral Courses in just three words, it would be … discovery, excellence, and fun. No one should feel intimidated or put off – everyone who is looking for these three things will be welcome, and immediately find they are among friends. Go for it!”
John Rutter CBE

“Eton Choral Courses gave me the opportunity to pursue a career in singing. I can’t imagine where I’d be without them!”
Iestyn Davies, countertenor

“I met some others, all now in music, who were all on the Eton Choral Course in 1987 and we reminisced at how marvelous it was and that overwhelming feeling we had at that first rehearsal in chapel: utterly breath-taking. How privileged we were to have been directed by so many household names! Thank you for that amazing experience.”
Alumnus

STUDENTS

I thought it would only be right to say, having now done my first Eton Choral Course, that it was the most enjoyable week of music making and choral singing I have ever been part of. I had no idea what to expect and it certainly surpassed all my expectations. It was utterly refreshing to spend a week with such talented people (both students and teachers) and learn from each other, as well as meeting some new friends along the way (who I know I will stay very close with!). I think the best part to the course is the aspect that everyone there is experiencing and sharing the same passion for music, whatever genre it may be. It was a week of shared intentions- to produce music to its finest standard, whilst having fun and building great relationships between peers.”
2015

“I knew the course was going to be an incredible learning experience, but I came out of the week with a great deal more learned than I would have ever anticipated.”
2015

“I must thank you very much for the recent Choral Course at Eton College, I had a truly fantastic time and will definitely return! I will always remember the amazing Howells ‘Te Deum’. I feel like the course, under your leadership, helped me improve massively on areas like sight-singing which was not so strong for me personally. Thank you, it was a fantastic experience which I have been recommending to other singers already, I am sure I will return, how could I not!”
2015

“I wanted to thank you personally for the best week of my life. This is my second course and I am told by my parents that I came back a completely different person. My confidence has grown, I am more relaxed, I am living more in the present and I have made friends for life. When you said at the beginning of the week that on this course you like to push us over the 80% saturation point of musicality I did not think it was possible; but my sight-reading, confidence, subtle understanding of choral music and music general knowledge has definitely improved. I didn’t think I could love choral singing even more – I was clearly very wrong. Thank you for providing me with a week full of opportunities to grow as a person and as a musician. I will definitely be coming back next year!”
2013

“I am so grateful for the opportunities offered to me on the course: the evensong at St Alban’s Cathedral, the live broadcast on Radio 3 and all the many other performance platforms … The atmosphere was warm and friendly, the people lovely and the staff were great fun … the singing teachers were truly first rate and I learnt so much over the course of the week, both about my voice, and myself in general. I have made some life-long friends and can’t wait to come on a course in the future! It is an experience I will never forget and would recommend to any young, keen singers!”
2013

“It was a great opportunity to meet new people, to be conducted by professionals, and to be master-classed by James Gilchrist! I most definitely will be coming back for another course.”
2013

“I’ve had so many opportunities as a direct result of the course and I believe that everyone should be able to have these opportunities, regardless of their financial situations which is why I think this charity is so important.”
2013

“Your conducting session was a certain inspiration … It is thanks to that small session that I rekindled my desire to become a conductor.”
2012

“I will be forever indebted to you for the vast array of repertoire and high quality musical instruction I received … I could not have imagined my time with a whole group of like-minded people would be as inspirational and motivational as the one which I have just encountered.”
2012

“I never knew such a high standard of choral singing existed at our age. I now have a love for English choral music that I don’t think I could have gained otherwise.”
2012

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for such an amazing week on the Choral Course. I learnt so much and really enjoyed exploring the challenging repertoire. I particularly enjoyed the experience of doing a live broadcast. There was so much going on and I met so many great people – I really want to come back again next year.”
2011

“I have nothing but praise to say about your courses and I hope to see the number of overseas singers rise with flocks of singers bringing the vision for excellence back home. The thought of the courses brings back very inspiring memories. I enjoyed it massively and it improved my range and singing in leaps and bounds! It was also marvellous to meet many different people who hold similar interests, and the group work was fun, taxing and inspiring!”
2010

“I have never sung in such an exhilarating choir and am now completely addicted to choral singing … The course exceeded my expectations! You have ignited my passion for choral music.”
2010

“Last year was my first ever Eton Choral Course and I chose to come because I was applying for a choral scholarship, and the courses were recommended to me as loads of fun and the ideal preparation for the audition. I am extremely pleased to say that I was awarded the choral scholarship and had I not been given so much help and intense training on last year’s course, I don’t believe such an achievement would have been possible.”
2010

“Thank you so much for another wonderful Eton Choral Course! When I tell my friends that I am basically singing more than I sleep for a whole week they can’t seem to understand why I am doing it. I simply tell them that it is soooo much fun and wouldn’t want it any other way! From going on the Eton Choral Course for the first time two years ago it was then that I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in music.”
2010

“My first Eton Choral Course was an inspiration; I realised that I wasn’t the only one in my school who liked singing and choral music but in fact I was one of the many young people who are passionate and committed in making music to the best of their abilities. Now reading music at university, I can look back and confidently say that it was my Eton Choral Course that started my ambition of becoming a singer.”
2010

“Quite honestly the most intensely demanding, rewarding, and happiest week of my life.”
2009

“Still the music we learned plays in my head at least ten times a day! I have to say it was probably the best week in my 17 and 3/4 years of existence! It was not just the opportunity to sing such beautiful music in a place that was made for music that made it so special but the opportunity to do it with such an amazing group of people.”
2009

“I truly believe that it has been one of the best musical experience of my life. If any course defines “Once in a life-time experience”, it’s an Eton Choral Course! I will definitely come again next year!
2009

“It was the best week in the best summer of my life… thank you so much for everything you do.”
2009

“It is no exaggeration to say that performing Strauss’s Der Abend during my spell at the Eton Choral Course was enough to prove that music was what I wanted to study at university and afterwards, so I thank you!”
2009

“I applied to Oxford this year and have been offered a choral scholarship. I am absolutely thrilled and am sure that the experience that I had at the Eton Choral Courses played a large part in my attaining the choral award.”
2008

PARENTS

“Thank you so much for the bursary, which enabled our son to attend the course. He said: it was one of the best weeks of my life. Apparently it ranked equal with his recent rock climbing trip in Yosemite. Wow!”
2010

“Yours are certainly the best choral courses that my daughter has experienced, by a long margin.”
2011

STAFF & TEACHERS

“I’m deeply moved as I write this, listening back to the Evensong from last Wednesday. Even by the very high standards of Eton Choral Courses, last week was something else. Such superb, passionate singing and music making!”
Stuart MacIntyre, singing teacher 2012

“I have sent something in the region of twenty of my students to your courses since the 1990s and the students have all returned enthused, tired (!), and having had wonderful choral experiences … So thank you – I am proud of my students, and grateful to have an environment such as the summer schools to which I can send them with confidence about the experiences they will have musically, vocally, socially and pastorally.”

PUBLIC

“If only the BBC allowed us to hear such singing each day, it would lift our hearts.”
BBC listener, 2012