King Henry VIII established the Collegiate Foundation “Ecclesia Christi Cattedralii Oxon: ex fundatione Regis Henrici Octavi” in 1546. Today, Christ Church is a unique joint foundation: both a college of the University of Oxford and the Cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford. This foundation originally included one Organist and eight Lay Clerks, but now consists of sixteen Choristers, six Lay Clerks and six Academical Clerks, in addition to the Director of Music (who has the official title of ‘Organist’), the Sub-Organist, and one or two Organ Scholars.
Christ Church is unique amongst the collegiate choirs in its Cathedral role, and this is reflected in the considerable opportunities afforded to the young singer, to learn a vast musical repertoire and to participate in many recordings, broadcasts and tours. In the past few years, the choir has visited, Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, the Lebanon and the USA. Academical Clerks are expected to have singing lessons, the cost of which is borne by the College.
The Academical Clerks take part in the Cathedral Choir’s choral services held in Christ Church Cathedral, which are normally as follows: