The Residence is an educational space managed by a team of educators who, in coordination with the choirboy’s families, aim to help the children grow in all aspects of life, especially with regards to living together.
From Sunday afternoon through Friday afternoon, the choirboys can make use of the Residence. For some years now, it has been a flexible space allowing children who live nearby to go home during the week if the family so wishes.
Since the Residence is understood to be a place to cultivate sound values and good habits, coordination with the families of the choirboys is considered of the utmost importance. Their education is truly a team effort in which the well-being of each child comes first.
The 6th of December, Saint Nicholas’ Day, is the main holiday for the choirboys. In a festival attended by families, monks and former choirboys, the Escolania sings the legend of Saint Nicholas. Following a tradition from the Middle Ages, one of the choirboys (elected by his schoolmates beforehand) is the “Bisbetó” (little bishop) for this day and plays the role of Saint Nicholas for the performance. This celebration is much adored by the choirboys and by all those who have been a part of the Escolania.
Exchange with Cintra
Every year, the older choirboys participate in an exchange program with the Cintra School in the Raval district of Barcelona. This centre works with adolescents at high risk of social exclusion. The choirboys and the students of Cintra welcome each other by sharing in games and experiences.
Exchange with La Masia del Futbol Club Barcelona
Periodically, there is a student exchange between La Masia del Barça and the Escolania. This exchange consists of a visit by the choristers to the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, or a visit by the residents of La Masia to Montserrat. With them, we share the importance of good values like effort, discipline, and teamwork.
Exchange with the F.C.Barcelona “La Masia”
Given the similarities between the two institutions, the choirboys have frequently held exchanges with the young residents of “La Masia”. With them, we share the importance of values such as effort, discipline and teamwork. These exchanges have consisted of visits to the “Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper” and/or having the children from “La Masia” visit Montserrat.
On Wednesdays, a shared space between the School and the Residence is used to carry out activities that the day-to-day life does not accommodate. Depending on the week, the students may go on a mountain hike, attend a lecture given by a guest speaker, or take advantage of the time to partake in some other group activity.
Fifteen Days of Summer
The choirboys usually return to Montserrat from summer vacation around the 20th of August. The days prior to the start of the school year are used not only to resume the Choir’s activity, but also to enjoy a few days at the swimming pool, hold competitions and participate in other summer activities. They are similar to music camps.
Exchange program with England
As an end-of-year field trip, the senior choirboys participate in an overseas exchange program with boys from a school in London. During their stay in England, the choirboys visit the city of London and discover what life is like in an English school. Afterwards, the British students come to Catalonia for a week.
At the Escolania, we offer catechism classes for those choirboys who have not been baptised or have not yet received their First Communion.
The Escolania has an exchange agreement with an American university, which sends two of their university students yearly to share in the daily life of the choirboys. These students have the opportunity to discover what Montserrat and Catalonia are all about while helping the choirboys in their daily practice of English. Both the students, who have been selected by the university, and the choirboys benefit from this culturally enriching experience.
How can one apply for the Escolania?
You will find the answer, here.
What do they study?
Montserrat’s choirboys study the same subjects as other boys their age, but they are also exposed to a lot of music: they play two instruments (the piano and another orchestra instrument of choice), study music theory, choir singing, orchestra…
What’s the interior of the Escolania like?
Most boys enter during the final years of primary school. Their studies at Montserrat end as they begin secondary school, based on the development of their voice.
How long do they stay in the school?
Most students arrive in the 4th year of primary school, with a few arriving in the 5th year. Their stay ends in the 1st or 2nd year of secondary school, depending on the evolution of their voice.
What is a choirboy’s week like?
The schedule above applies to Monday through Thursday. On Friday, all choirboys go home at 17:30 and stay with their families until Sunday morning at 10:00. Sunday is a special day. They sing at 11:00 (for Conventual Mass) and at 18.45 (for Vespers). The time in between is spent with their families, most of whom stay in Montserrat during this time (although those who live close by may go home for lunch). Activities are also sometimes organised between these hours. It should be noted that not all choirboys come on Sundays to Montserrat, instead, shifts are planned to ensure that everyone can have a few Sundays off, apart from the ones that fall on holidays (two weeks for Christmas, the week after Easter, and approximately eight weeks in the summertime)
What do they eat?
The choirboys enjoy a balanced diet, following the guide-lines set by a nutritionist. Home style meals are prepared by a team of cooks. Throughout their stay, the choirboys are encouraged to eat a variety of foods.
Where do they come?
The Escolania choirboys come from all over Catalonia. On occasion, there have also been a few from other Catalan Countries.
Who pays for the Escolania?
Choirboys’ parents pay 20% of their child’s stay at Montserrat. The Department of Education of the Catalan Government finances part of the schooling. Support from benefactors comes through the “Fundació Abadia de Montserrat 2025.” The rest of the expenses, which constitute the largest remaining portion, are covered by the Abbey of Montserrat. However, no child will leave the Escolania for financial reasons: all that matters is that they have a good voice and musical skills
Perks for families
Every Sunday, families are provided with a parking space, a place to eat, and various discounts at the Sanctuary. But the most significant benefit that families enjoy at Montserrat is the community with other parents and children, as well as with the greater Montserrat community.