The aim of the schola is to give young, musical students the opportunity to participate in the living tradition of plainchant and polyphony in a liturgical context.
All singers are auditioned to discover their potential and on admittance to the choir receive training in rudiments and vocal development, enabling them to sing alongside senior students from the college. Although the full choir has fewer duties than a traditional cathedral choir, it nevertheless sings similarly challenging and artistically high quality music at mass and on other occasions. The repertoire spans 900 years to include plainsong as well as music from the Golden Age – Palestrina, Victoria, Tallis, Byrd – through the classical period – Haydn, Mozart, Schubert – to masters of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries including commissions written specially for the choir.
The girls rehearse in the mornings before school and sing at the Evening Service in the Abbey Church on a regular basis.
The Schola Sancti Martini often join the boy trebles of the Schola Cantorum to sing in various outreach projects. The combined choirs have sung at Mass at a number of local churches including St John the Evangelist in Easingwold. In 2011 the combined choir reached the semi final of the BBC School Choir of the Year competition.
The girls have toured abroad a number of times most recently travelling to Bavaria in Germany.