Treble Line

For Boys in Church Choirs


An organisation set up early in 2011 to promote and support parish church choirs in the UK that have an all-boy top line.

Boy choristers are a traditional feature of church choirs in Britain. However, only about sixty UK parish churches still have a choir that contains an all-boy top line (‘treble line’), a quarter of the number in the early 1980s. Their directors have created an association (“Treble Line”) to foster choirs of this type and the special benefits they can bring to their members (such as musical training and life-skills), the churches of which they are a part, and wider society.

A survey undertaken in 2011 has identified many of the characteristics of the remaining parish church choirs that have all-boy top lines. They are very diverse, with choir sizes ranging from 7 to 36 trebles, with a median of 17 boys.  For most choirs (19 out of 29) their numbers of trables had not changed much in the previous five years with, among the others, more showing expansion than contraction. Typically they have a proactive approach to recruitment, a graded training system, and music that is challenging  The large majority of churches with a treble section also have another choir in which girls or women sang the top line (23 churches had this arrangement, compared to only 7 that did not). To summarise, the remaining parish choirs with boys-only top lines appear to be active and systematically organised units that have given thought to what makes a sustainable choir and that act on well-tried principles of good people-management.  (see Tab ‘2011 Survey’ above to read the summary of results and links to the full report and PowerPoint presentation).


Treble Line has issued its second Newsletter, reporting on its 2014 meeting that focused on the retention of ex-trebles in the ‘back row’ and managing the relationship between choir and clergy Newsletter.

  Click here to read the second (2014) Newsletter (pdf file).

  Click here to read the first (2012) Newsletter (pdf file).

Click here to read the notes of the Treble Line meetings in 2012 and 2014.


For Your Diary:

The next meeting of representatives of churches with ‘Treble Line’ choirs will take place on Saturday 14 February, 2015 (2.00pm to 4.30pm) at The Charterhouse, London, EC1M 6AN.