Academy 1

Academy of Vocal Music

Developing excellence in choral singing for children and young people

Ex Cathedra’s Academy trains singings aged 3 to 18 years through its 4 choirs

Overseen by Jeffrey Skidmore OBE, Artistic Director and led by Ex Cathedra vocal tutors our Academies provide some of the most exciting opportunities for the region’s best young singers. Our teaching approach and set-up enables us to individually know and enable each singer. We provide a variety of opportunities for training and performances including a range of performances with Ex Cathedra Choir conducted by Jeffrey Skidmore such as the recent Shakespeare Odes (broadcast live on the BBC), performances for other partners, recent examples being Carmina Burana and The Nutrcracker for Birmingham Royal Ballet, and concerts for the choirs in their own right.

Academy 2How it works:

  • Children’s Academy (Boys and Girls): Reception to School Year 3
  • Junior Academy (Boys and Girls): School Years 4 – 8
  • Girls’ Academy School Years 9 – 13
  • Boys’ Academy School Years 8/9 – 13 (when the voice begins to change)


Each year, for 20 term time Wednesdays the Junior Academy, Girls’ Academy and Boys’ Academy rehearse separately but in the same building for 20 Wednesday evenings, and on 9 Sunday afternoons where the choirs come together with opportunities for cross over working and informal performances to each other and parents. All venues are situated in Birmingham City Centre. Performances are on extra dates and arranged by availability sheet. The team leading the choirs under the direction of Jeffrey Skidmore are Rebecca Ledgard (Junior Academy and Children’s Academy); Suzzie Vango (Girls’ Academy), Sally Spencer (Children’s Academy), Rob Challinor (Principal Accompanist all choirs), and members of the vocal tutor team (Boys’ Academy).

Join an Ex Cathedra Academy choir

We are always interested in recruiting new members, so if you would like more information, please contact Myriam Toumi: 0121 616 3412,

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What they say

….The most amazing choir, a group of incredible and influential vocal tutors and musicians and lifelong friends that I have made through singing with Junior Academy and the Girls Academy. The support and experience that Ex Cathedra has given to me has been amazing and I feel so very privileged and honoured to have been part of some truly extraordinary singing projects. I feel like over the years I have not only developed my musical and singing knowledge but have also been equipped with invaluable communication, self-management and social skills. I have so many wonderful memories from amazing rehearsals, Rob’s funky piano riffs, my first time in the orchestra pit at age 6, singing at ArtsFest, singing in Carmina all those years back in Symphony Hall and attending annual Carols by Candlelight – a tradition that I know my family and friends will keep for a long time! So…! I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made my Ex Cathedra experience such a valuable and treasured experience.”  Martha Davis, member for ten years

The Shakespeare Odes concert at Southwell Cathedral was the best day of my life!” Kirsty Fernie, Junior Academy member

We would like to thank all of the funders of the Academy of Vocal Music. Current funders are:

Leverhulme Trust

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