Devon County Choirs

About the choir

Joining the choir


Schola Exe

Pictures and sounds

Diary / schedule




Contact us

DCJC is for children aged 7 - 13. It is administered and directed by Andrew Downton (Singing Development Leader, Exeter Cathedral). The choir was formed in September 2007.

About the Choir:

DCJC rehearsals are on Saturdays, usually 9.15 - 11.15am (any variations on this time is notified well in advance). Rehearsals are held in Kalendar Hall, South Street, Exeter which is the Music Department of Exeter Cathedral School. Rehearsals are for the children only; parents do not stay to watch!

For an application form to join DCJC, please click HERE.
Please send completed application forms to Andrew Downton who will then contact you about your child's first rehearsal.

Children will be required to undertake a very simple voice test during their first practice in order to check accurate pitching; this is not onerous and does not require anything to be prepared.

As DCJC is entirely financially dependent upon grants and donations, we expect parents to make a termly donation to contribute towards the running costs of DCJC (we suggest £40 a term). If this would be difficult, please speak, in confidence, to Andrew Downton.

Following a successful voice test, new members undergo a probationary term in which his/her suitability for DCJC is monitored. This is not exclusively musical; a good grasp of choral discipline is expected and a responsible attitude towards his/her own learning as well as others. Behaviour and interaction with other members of the choir is also considered. We would expect most members to successfully complete this and if there is any cause for concern, this will be communicated to the child and his/her parents so that issues can be addressed. Please note that membership of DCJC is solely at the music staff's discretion and they reserve the right to request the withdrawal of a child at any time.

A brief history:

The Chorister Outreach Programme was a national government-funded scheme designed to encourage and enable cathedrals to use their musical resources to promote singing among children in primary schools. It was part of the national Sing-up programme, led by the Government's Singing Ambassador Howard Goodall, which aimed to achieve Singing School status for every primary school by the year 2012.

Despite the withdrawal of central government funding, the Chorister Outreach Project continues in Devon, run as a collaboration between Exeter Cathedral and the Devon Music Education Hub. It is also supported by the Royal School of Church Music (Devon Area), and the Benedictine Community at Buckfast Abbey. Financial support is also given through a number of trusts and bursaries. The programme aims to instil and develop the joy of singing among children in primary schools, by offering specialist teaching input, continuing support and high-quality performance opportunities. It also aims to raise levels of access, achievement and aspiration, and to encourage and develop collaborative projects for singing for both pupils and staff.

Following a highly successful pilot with four Exeter schools in the spring of 2007, the project was fully launched in the Autumn Term of 2007. In each academic year, approximately 20 primary schools have taken part in the programme, involving thousands of children in total. Alongside the direct input in primary schools, DCJC provides further opportunities for children who enjoy singing to work together and perform.  During 2016, DCJC attempted to offer a group based in North Devon - in the end the numbers didn't sustain this and the decision was taken to offer the DCJC North singers the option of a welcome in DCJC South where the larger choir would be more vibrant for the youngsters.

Since the choir began in September 2007, DCJC has:
  • performed at over 30 Outreach concerts in Exeter Cathedral, Buckfast Abbey and St Andrew's Church, Plymouth.
  • sung at concerts with Will Young, Hayley Westenra and the King's Singers.
  • performed with Exeter Philharmonic Choir, Exeter Cathedral Choir, South West Camerata, Isca Voices, Exeter Children's Orchestra, Exeter Music Group and Exeter Festival Chorus.
  • commissioned works by local composers David Davies, Anna Matthews and Andrew Millington.
  • sung with Cornwall Junior Choir in Truro Cathedral and Hampshire Children's Choir in Exeter Cathedral.
  • performed at the Budleigh Salterton Music Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2016.
  • recorded a CD in Exeter Cathedral
  • undertaken Christmas carol Singing in Exeter's Guildhall and Princesshay Shopping Centres and at the Exeter Market on Cathedral Green.
  • participated in 3 choral masterclasses
  • performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee service and sang Evensong in Exeter Cathedral in 2012.
  • performed at 2 Grand Nave Dinners in Exeter Cathedral
  • has participated in performances of Britten's 'St Nicolas,' Mahler's 8th Symphony and Britten's War Requiem.
A full list of performances can be found on the Performances page of this website.


All staff are subject to Enhanced DBS Disclosure.

Parent helpers are Heidi Bate, Jen Blackman, Sarah Kay and Jessica Taylor.

Contact details:

The contact email address for DCJC is: (Andrew Downton)

The contact phone number is: 01392 436747 (Department of Liturgy and Music, Exeter Cathedral)


Please note that we do expect a good level of attendance in order for your child to progress vocally and be able to participate in concerts.
(All practices take place in Kalendar Hall, South Street, Exeter unless stated otherwise.)

Autumn Term 2021