St Nicholas’ Schola Cantorum

Its three principal aims are:

Enriching worship

Educating singers

Promoting the arts

The Schola Cantorum is a modern reimagining of the original college of singers, established here in 1486 to serve the medieval establishment.

In 2012, the Rector, Select Vestry and parish community decided to revive the ancient college, honoring the church’s musical heritage but in a new dynamic that reaches out to all the people of Galway.

St. Nicholas’ Schola Cantorum meets the musical needs of the liturgy in St Nicholas’, secures the musical future of the church and provides an invaluable musical and educational resource in the wider community.
The aims are met through five choral ensembles that comprise the Schola Cantorum.

The Five Ensembles

Collegiate Church Choir

The Collegiate Church Choir is an adult SATB ensemble of up to twenty-four voices: it is the principal choir of St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, providing the weekly music for the church’s liturgy, and is one of Galway’s most established musical institutions. Included in the choir are junior and senior choral scholars, singing alongside long-serving and accomplished members, thus bringing together youth and maturity, learning and experience. The choir makes a valuable and internationally recognised contribution every Sunday morning to the Sung Eucharist, and also sings Evensong once a month as well as special seasonal services throughout the year.


The Choristers of St Nicholas Schola Cantorum comprise up to thirty boys and girls aged 8-14, drawn from the parish, St Nicholas’ Parochial School and the wider community. The choristers receive a unique musical education through weekly rehearsals, and singing and musicianship classes utilising the RSCM Voice for Life scheme. The Choristers sing monthly at the Sunday morning Sung Eucharist, and at other special services and occasions throughout the church year. They have performed in the Baboró Arts Festival as special guests of Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Tom Chapin, in the Galway Early Music Festival with The Harp Consort under the direction of Andrew Lawrence-King, and in other special events and concerts around the city.


The Schola Cantorum’s concert chamber choir takes its title from the ancient designation of the church dating back to 1486. The choir comprises 16-20 singers depending on the type of project undertaken, and is made up of Galway’s finest choral singers. Most members sing in one of the Schola’s other choirs and many also sing in other Galway choral ensembles. The choir presents concerts during the year, including the much-loved Music for Good Friday (presented in collaboration with Music for Galway). The principal artistic focus of the choir is music from the Renaissance period, and on presenting unusual programmes with a strong thematic and seasonal flavour. In addition to performing under the direction of founder-conductor Mark Duley, Collegium has also worked with Andrew Lawrence-King and the Harp Consort in presenting the medieval Play of Daniel as part of the 2015 Galway Early Music Festival.

St Nicholas Singers

A founding principle of the Schola Cantorum is that membership and opportunity is available to all, regardless of age, gender, experience or background. St Nicholas Singers is a large all-comers choir that opens up the delights of choral music-making to everyone, bringing them into the St Nicholas singing family and offering them a unique encounter with a centuries-old tradition of music and artistic endeavour in this place. Since its first outing in 2012, the choir has presented a diverse range of works such as Faure’s Requiem, Britten’s cantata Rejoice in the lamb, Vaughan Williams’ Five mystical songs, Brahms’ German Requiem, and Arvo Pärt’s Beatitudes. It has collaborated with many different musicians and ensembles, most famously with celebrated accordionist Máirtín O’Connor.

University of Galway Choral Scholars

In a groundbreaking link between Galway’s university and its ancient collegiate church, University of Galway students are awarded annual choral scholarships by the university to take part in the Schola Cantorum programme. There are annual auditions for potential scholars at the beginning of the academic year, and successful candidates then join a small high-achieving chamber ensemble which rehearses twice weekly and sings at the beautiful Thursday evening candlelit service of Compline several times in each university semester.
If you would like to get in touch, please submit your email address here.
Opening Hours:

Mon 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Tues 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Wed 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Thurs 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Fri 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sat 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sun - Closed
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