Academy 1

Ex Cathedra Academy of Vocal Music

Overseen by Jeffrey Skidmore OBE (Artistic Director) and led by our Vocal Tutors, our Academy of Vocal Music choirs provide some of the most exciting opportunities for the region’s best young singers.

Our approach enables us to get to know and enable each singer as an individual. We provide a variety of opportunities for training and performances including:

Academy 2– Concerts with Ex Cathedra, such as our Shakespeare Odes project (broadcast live on the BBC)
– Annual Good Friday Bach Passion at Symphony Hall
– Performances for other partners, including Carmina Burana and The Nutcracker for Birmingham Royal Ballet

Our Choirs

We have a number of choirs, suitable for different ages and voices. Please get in touch if you would like to know which choir would best suit your child!

AVM Beginnings and Endings 2019

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


Every Wednesday* the Junior Academy, Senior Girls Academy and Senior Boys Academy rehearse – separately, but in the same building at Ladywood Arc (St John and St Peter’s Church).

Once a month*, on a Sunday afternoon, the Children’s Academy comes together at the Oratory Primary School in Ladywood, and give an informal performance to parents following the rehearsal.

The team leading the choirs – under the direction of Jeffrey Skidmore – are:

  • Rebecca Ledgard (Junior Academy and Children’s Academy)
  • Suzzie Vango (Senior Girls Academy)
  • Ruairi Edwards (Senior Boys Academy)
  • Sally Spencer (Children’s Academy)
  • Rob Challinor (principal accompanist)

*Performance dates for all of the choirs are often additional and notified at the beginning of each academic year.


We are always pleased to welcome new members. For 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

You can help us!

If you would like to make a donation to support the Academy, we would be extremely grateful.

Fur further information, contact Sarah Abbiss, Fundraising Manager at

We would like to thank all of our funders for their very kind support.  Current major funders for the Academy include:

Sandvik logoLeverhulme Trust

Download our 2019-20 brochure
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