We intend to publish a gallery of photographs taken at RSCM or ECS events.  In the meantime, please visit our Picasa web album.




Membership of the North West Europe branch is arranged centrally through the main RSCM office in the UK.  Further information can be found on their site. Our events, and the Voice for Life scheme, are open to individual members and members of affiliated choirs.

ECS Members Area

The ECS members area gives access to resources relating to ECS events.  If you do not yet have a user id for the site, please contact Andrew.

For the programmes for the upcoming visits, please click on Upcoming Events in the members’ menu on the left hand side. 

Voice for Life – Bronze

Section A        Using the voice well

1. Hymn Singing         Maximum 15 marks (9 to pass)

Candidates should sing three verses (melody or their own voice part) from a prepared hymn (of at least four-line verses); the second verse should be sung unaccompanied.

[Note: This may be a hymn in their chosen language if not English]

2. Psalm Singing         Maximum 15 marks (9 to pass)

Candidates should prepare and sing psalmody (melody or their own voice part), to music of their own choice in one of the three principally recitative styles as follows. This may be: eight verses of a Psalm and Gloria to Anglican Chant or Plainsong Tone; or the whole of a responsorial psalm, sung in recitative style (i.e. not a metrical psalm-song nor a hymn setting of a psalm).

[Note: This may be in their chosen language if not English]

3. Prepared item         Maximum 20 marks (12 to pass)

Candidates should consult with their choir trainer and select an anthem, a solo or extract from an anthem, which they have already performed (or might potentially perform) in their own choir. The item chosen should be chosen from the repertoire at List-A.

The candidate may perform the melody or their own voice part. If they choose to sing the melody, altos and basses may use a transposed edition to suit their range.
Marks awarded will take account of the level of difficulty of the music, but more weight will be given to interpretation and musicality.

Throughout the above tests, the examiner will be looking for:

  • Good unforced quality of tone with consistent control
  • Good posture
  • Good breath control with the ability to sustain to the end of a phrase
  • Clear diction including good open vowel sounds
  • Accurate intonation 
  • Rhythmic accuracy
  • Good expressive and dynamic contrasts
  • Evidence of comprehension of the text and mood of the piece All of the above should produce a sensitive and musical performance.


Section B         Musical skills and understanding

1. Sight-reading         Maximum 10 marks (6 to pass)

Candidates will be asked:

  • To clap (or sing on one note) from sight, and unaccompanied, a simple rhythm, in simple time, which may include dotted notes. A second attempt will be allowed.
  • To sing at sight, with accompaniment played by the examiner,  a short melody (of about l0 notes), in a key of up to three sharps or flats, to a vowel or solfa (at the candidate’s choice). The key chord and first note will be given. A second attempt will be allowed.

2. Aural tests and Further Questions         Maximum 10 marks (6 to pass)

2.1 Aural tests

Candidates will be expected to respond to any or all of the following tests: 

  • Clap the rhythm pattern of a 2-bar phrase played twice.
  • Sing (in strict time) three simple 2-bar phrases, each heard only once. The key chord and the tonic will be sounded before the excerpt begins.
  • Identify the following intervals each heard not more than twice (both notes played simultaneously): major and minor 3rd, perfect 4th and 5th. Two or three examples will be given within the candidate’s vocal range.
  • Identify a passage as having 2, 3 or 4 beats in a bar on a single hearing.
2.2     Further questions

Using the prepared item from Section-A as a starting point, questions will be asked to ascertain candidate’s knowledge of:

  • Notes of the stave most appropriate to their voice [SATB]
  • Time values of notes
  • Time signatures (simple time)
  • Key signatures (up to three sharps and three flats)
  • Simple Italian musical terms

Section C        Repertoire         Maximum 10 marks (6 to pass)

Candidates will be asked questions (appropriate to their age and/or experience) on their prepared pieces. 
The topics for discussion should include:

  • Text and music (origin, style, meaning, how the music reflects the text).
  • Context (historical, musical, liturgical where relevant).

Note: A guide to more detail for Sections B & C, with sample questions may be found in the Voice for Life Choir Trainer’s Book and relevant Voice for Life work books (Light and Dark Blue) leading to the Bronze Award.

Section D         Belonging to the Choir

There is no formal examination for this section and no marks are allocated. Nevertheless it remains a vital part of the bronze award. On application, candidates must present a written testimonial from their choir trainer, signed by the vicar/minister/head teacher/director of music, confirming their commitment to the choir (see ‘Pre-Requisites’). 

Section E         Choir in context             Maximum 20 marks (12 to pass)

Candidates should bring two copies of any music, to which they refer in this Section E. 

1.     Candidates will be asked about any two [their choice] of the following church festivals and/or seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week & Easter and Pentecost (Whitsuntide) and should be able to:

  • suggest one of; a hymn, psalm or worship song suitable for each and to be prepared to sing a verse of one of them;
  • show knowledge of the sections of the bible, which those festivals celebrate;
  • name and show knowledge of a suitable anthem for either of the selected festival/season. 

Note: Choices of music for this section should not be the same as those chosen for Section A.

2.     Candidates will be asked to describe the sung parts of the form of Sunday service(s) at their own church, and to show awareness of their own responsibilities as choir members in these and in their choir/church generally.
Note: They may bring with them, and refer to, a service book or card as appropriate.
Note: The candidate’s understanding of the issues raised in this section will vary greatly according to age and experience; an adult beginner might be expected to show a greater understanding than a 10 year old, for example; though their musical and singing abilities might be on a par. Examiners will keep in mind that this is a first award. 



List-A     Repertoire List for Bronze Award

Make a choice from the following lists of anthems for the Prepared Item within Section A.

Anthems in the RSCM Bronze Collection approved for use as the Prepared Item for Section-A Bronze Award:

  1. Rutter —A Gaelic Blessing    
  2. L. J. White — A Prayer of St Richard of Chichester    
  3. Shephard — And didst thou travel light   
  4. Lindley — Ave Maria    
  5. Elgar — Ave verum corpus    
  6. Ferguson — Away with gloom, away with doubt     
  7. Sanger — Child in the manger    
  8. How — Day by day    
  9. How — Fairest Lord Jesus    
  10. Ouseley — From the rising of the sun    
  11. Harris — Glory, love and praise and honour    
  12. Farrant — Hide not thou thy face    
  13. Stainer — How beautiful upon the mountains    
  14. Lole — I am the bread of life    
  15. Aston — I give you a new commandment    
  16. Barnard — In the heart where love is abiding    
  17. Halsey — Let all the world in every corner sing   
  18. Nazareth — Listen
  19. Wesley — Love one another
  20. Aston — Loving God
  21. Harper — May the peace of God the Father 
  22. Stanford — O for a closer walk with God 
  23. Lallouette — O mysterium ineffabile
  24. Tye — O Holy Spirit Lord of grace 
  25. How — Praise, O praise thy God and King 
  26. Weaver — Sent by the Lord am I 
  27. Weaver — Steal away
  28. Shephard — The Easter song of Praise
  29. Ogden — The fruits of the land 
  30. Archer — The Lord’s my shepherd 
  31. Morley — This is the day 
  32. Greene — Thou visitest the earth 
  33. Attwood — Turn thy face from my sins 
  34. Archer — We cannot measure 

Other anthems in List-A approved as suitable for use as the Prepared Item for Section-A of the Bronze Award for the NW Europe Area:

  1. Archer — Let our praise to you
  2. Archer — My song is love unknown
  3. Bach — Awake, thou wintry earth
  4. Bach — Jesus, joy of man’s desiring
  5.     Be still for the presence of the Lord
  6. Handel — Lord, I trust thee
  7. Harris — Come down, O Love Divine
  8. Hilton — Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake
  9. How — Jesus is Lord
  10. Hurford — Litany to the Holy Spirit
  11. Ives — O for a closer walk
  12. Little — Before the ending of the day
  13. Mozart — Ave verum
  14. Mudd — Let thy merciful ears
  15. Ogden — Christ has no body now but yours
  16. Stanford — Magnificat in C
  17. Tallis — If ye love me
  18. Traditional — The angel rolled the stone away
  19. Tye — O come, ye servants of the Lord
  20. Rutter — God be in my head
  21. V. Williams — The Call
  22. Wesley — Lead me Lord


European Cathedral Singers

ECS at Chester Cathedral - 2010

ECS is a choir comprising choristers from RSCM-affiliated churches [or individuals, who are full RSCM members] mainly from the area of Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands).   It currently has approximately 35 members.

The main focus of ECS activity is a week of Cathedral singing in the summer [usually the first week in August],  during which all choral services would be sung.  This would normally include choral Evensong daily, two or three services on Sunday and any other special services as planned and directed by the cathedral.   At these services we all wear our own choir robes, reflecting the mixed composition of the choir.  ECS also provides choral support for some special services in the Archdeaconry of NW Europe [eg ordinations], and occasionally gives concerts.

ECS at Chester Cathedral - 2010 

The choir has a core of regular participants, and other members, who join us from time to time, so new singers with the appropriate voices and skills are welcome. In line with other RSCM Cathedral singers groups in the UK, it is expected that our members will have attained [or be at a level of ability, equivalent to] the RSCM Silver Award.  Where an applicant does not yet have such a qualification, a voice and music test would normally be required.

We are a varied group in ages and nationalities and the language of the choir is English.  If you are interested in joining the ECS, please contact Martin van Bleek.