TWO former Ripon Cathedral choristers who have been singing together from the age of seven are celebrating leaving school on a high note.

Ripon Grammar School sixth formers Barnaby Sladden and James Kitchingman have sung their way to success at highly competitive auditions for prestigious choral scholarships.

Barnaby has been offered a tenor position in the Clare College Chapel Choir at the University of Cambridge, alongside a place to study maths.

As well as singing with the world-famous choir, his new role will involve radio performances and overseas tours.

James won his place at Worcester Cathedral, where he will enjoy free accommodation in an 18th century flat above the cathedral’s Song School, with spectacular views of the Malvern Hills and River Severn.

Barnaby, 17, from outside Thirsk, will be following in the footsteps of his parents, Dan and Ruth Sladden, who met when they were Cambridge choral scholars in the 1990s.

James, 18, from Burton Leonard, will spend his gap year singing at Worcester Cathedral, while helping to run the acclaimed music department there, before applying to study music at university.

The Northern Echo:

James (centre) and Barnaby (right) as young choirboys at Ripon Cathedral

Having missed the enjoyment of singing in choirs in lockdown, both boys are now looking forward to letting their voices soar again.

“I’ve missed the opportunity to sing in groups and perform for a live audience,” explained James.

“Music has been the focus of my life throughout secondary school, so to leave and capitalise on such enjoyment for a year after lockdown is a dream come true.

"It’s an amazing opportunity.”

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson wished them well in their next steps, saying: “James and Barnaby were gifted members of Ripon Cathedral Choir when I arrived in Ripon in 2014.

"It is such a joy to see them using their musical talents and flourishing so brilliantly."