Choir Ribbons, an explanation

Traditionally at St Peter's, the Head Choristers and the Second Choristers ("Seconds") have worn medals hung from red and dark blue ribbons respectively. Since Pentecost Sunday however, other junior choristers have worn medals. This is because the choir is adopting the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) practice which allocates a different color ribbon to choristers as a symbol of their progression through the grades, following periodic testing. Grading starts from that of Probationer, and then advances through Grades Four to One.

Under the RSCM system, Probationers will continue to be presented with their surplices to mark having achieved the necessary basic skills to pass their Grade Four test, but at that stage no medal is awarded. On reaching Grade Three and thereafter, medals will be awarded with the ribbon colour denoting the specific grade attained, as follows:

  • Grade 3: light blue ribbon
  • Grade 2: dark blue ribbon
  • Grade 1: red ribbon

The Head Choristers will continue to wear their present red ribbons, which are distinguishable from other Grade One awards by the wider ribbon and the distinctive design of the medal, which incorporates a bar on which their title is written.

There are other medals which will continue to be worn, and these are those issued on a personal basis by either the Bishop or the Provost of Southwell. The Provost's Award, a Diocesan medal on a green ribbon, is received by experienced junior choristers after examination by the Rector Chori of Southwell Minster in their singing ability and religious/liturgical knowledge. At present, four of our junior choristers are being prepared for this award. The Bishop's Award, again a Diocesan medal but on a purple ribbon, is present to adult choristers for (very) long service. Known by some as "gongs", the latter are only worn at St Peter's for special festivals and services, particularly ones attended by the Bishop!

Keith Charter
St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 5th July 1997