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Associate Choral Leader (Choral Scholars)

September 2024 – June 2025

This new training programme provides an opportunity for an emerging choral conductor or vocal leader to help establish new musical initiatives in the Diocese of Manchester whilst being offered regular intensive support and training with the music team at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. 

The Associate Choral Leader (Diocese of Manchester Choral Scholars) is aimed at choral conductors or vocal animateurs who have a particularly interest in working with singers who are students or recent graduates and are in the early stages of a career in singing. It is expected that the Associate Choral Leader will be in the first few years of a professional career, and this programme will help them to develop their skills to a high level. 

This is part of a wider project called ‘Sing my Soul’, which aims to develop new music and faith initiatives in a number of churches in the Diocese of Manchester.

Diocese of Manchester Choral Scholars 

The Associate Choral Leader is part of a collaborative project between the Diocese of Manchester choral scholars and the St Martin-in-the-Fields music programme, supported by the Church of England Strategic Development Fund. 

The Diocese of Manchester Choral Scholarships are a programme of stimulating and educative choral training, working across churches in Manchester with the music team from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. The scheme is aimed at choral singers wishing to embark on a professional career in singing. The Choral Scholarships provide an opportunity for up to ten singers to enjoy an intensive, focused period of development alongside others of a similar standard and interests whilst building on a tradition of musical excellence in churches in the city centre and beyond. As well as their Saturday commitments, the Manchester Choral Scholars have sung for broadcasts of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3, taken part in Church of England online services for Christmas and the Platinum Jubilee, and participated in concerts in London and Manchester, including a collaboration with vocal ensemble I Fagiolini. They have taken part in workshops with choral leaders including Neil Ferris, Jamie Wright, Robert Hollingworth and Stuart Overington.

In 2024-25 the Choral Scholars will be based at St Paul’s Church, Withington, South Manchester, singing for services on Wednesday evenings, alongside some Saturday performances in St Stephen Audenshaw, Oldham Parish Church and other churches throughout Manchester.

St Martin-in-the-Fields Associate Choral Leader Training Programme

Approximately six times a term, you will receive professional development training alongside other Choral Leaders from around the UK. Over the past year, workshops have included conducting technique training with Eamonn Dougan and Neil Ferris, working with children’s voices with Laurel Neighbour, vocal health workshops with Charlotte Mobbs and programming for liturgy with Tim Ruffer. This programme is overseen by Assistant Director of Music, Olivia Tait. This programme is a hybrid model of online and in-person, with approximately three online workshops and three in-person workshops each term.


Choral Leaders will:

  • assist with the Diocese of Manchester choral scholarship programme on Wednesdays and Saturdays during term time.
  • encourage the integration of this new musical outreach with the wider life and mission of the different churches.
  • direct as required, the choral scholars evening musical activity at St Paul’s Withington on Wednesday evenings, and Great Sacred Music on Saturday mornings.
  • attend St Martin-in-the-Fields for training and development on approximately six afternoons each term (on Tuesday afternoons)

There will be the opportunity to shape the work around the skills of the Associate Choral Leader, working alongside the needs of the project as a whole.


The main schedule revolves around a Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

  • Six times a term (three online, three in person) on Tuesday afternoons between 2.00 and 5.00pm you will be based at St Martin-in-the-Fields for development and training.
  • On Wednesday evening you will assist in the leading of the Diocese of Manchester choral scholars for services of sung evening prayer and associated rehearsals
  • On some Saturday mornings (4 to 5 per term), you will assist in the leading of the Diocese of Manchester Choral Scholars Great Sacred Music service in churches around the Diocese.
  • The choral scholars, in addition, will be performing 3-4 times per term around Manchester. The Associate Choral Leader will be needed for some of these. Dates are to be agreed before the start of each term. 

Through and since the pandemic, St Martin’s and the Diocese of Manchester have established a hybrid model of in-person and online worship. All of the services and events may also be either live-streamed or recorded for future broadcast on our social media channels.

Term dates

This is a nine-month programme running from September 2024 to early July 2025.

Autumn Wednesday 25th September – Saturday 14th December 2024 (inclusive)
Spring Wednesday 15th January – Saturday 5th April 2025 (inclusive)
Summer Wednesday 30th April – Wednesday 18th June 2025 (inclusive)

Honorarium and conditions

The Associate Choral Leader commitment is two days per week during term time (c. 32 weeks total): Some Tuesday half days (St Martin’s workshops), Wednesday evening (St Paul’s Withington) and occasional Saturday lunchtimes. The Associate Choral Leader receives an honorarium of £7,500 for this nine-month long programme, paid in three equal instalments in December, April and June.

The costs of travel down to London for the in-person workshops will be covered by St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Throughout this period, you will be an Associate Choral Leader and considered to be a freelancer and not an employee. Nothing in this programme is intended to create a relationship of employer and employee between you and St Martin-in-the-Fields or the Diocese of Manchester.

The Choral Leadership will run from September 2024 to June 2025. It will be renewed in exceptional circumstances subject to re-interview. You will work under the supervision of the Director of Music and Assistant Director of Music of St Martin-in-the-Fields.


The scheme is aimed at choral conductors who are in the first stage of a professional career and wish to develop their skills to a high level, particularly in working with choral scholars. In particular, we are looking for:

  • Relevant vocal leading experience, and some choral conducting experience
  • Ability to work with and develop singers at the early stages of a professional music career
  • Enthusiasm for working as a member of a team, together with a willingness to develop their own musical talent
  • Experience in administration and organisation 
  • Ability to work in sympathy with the aims and the ethos of the Church of England and Diocese of Manchester
  • Desirable: A basic level of keyboard skills is required (e.g. to be able to lead a rehearsal from the keyboard).


The Associate Choral Leader will work within the Church of England’s safeguarding framework. They will need to adhere to the safeguarding requirements of the Diocese of Manchester, including undertaking all training required by the diocese and cooperating with the clergy and safeguarding officers. An enhanced DBS will be required.

Our ambition is to work together to promote a more inclusive environment, which attracts all candidates and signals our commitment to celebrate and promote diversity. We particularly encourage applications from those who are currently underrepresented within choral music.

To apply

Applications for 2024/25 choral leaders have now closed. 

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to direct a short choral rehearsal, and undertake an interview. Auditions will take place Friday 7th June (London) and Wednesday 12th June (Manchester). 

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