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College choirs: chorus online
Collegiate Cambridge has a rich tradition of choral music, from chapel choirs to ensembles specialising in other genres. In the digital age, Cambridge singers are bringing their performances to ever wider audiences on the internet and social media.
The most recent choir to take to the internet is the choir of Clare College, which now makes choral services from the chapel available online. Listen free of charge from anywhere in the world, with a new webcast released each week throughout the academic terms, at www.clarecollegechoir.com/webcasts. Previous weeks' editions remain available too.
The initiative marks a significant achievement and the beginning of an exciting chapter for the College and its Choir, and is kindly supported by the Foyle Foundation.
Find information about choral activities at your College and browse others below. Alumni in the USA can also find out about choir tours to locations in the States via Cambridge in America.
The chapel choir pursues a range of activities beyond the College, where it sings for services, such as performing concerts in Cambridge and around the UK, recording CDs, broadcasting, and undertaking a major international tour each Summer.
Listen to sample recordings online at www.christs.cam.ac.uk/college-life/recordings.
Churchill's choir provides an opportunity for college members to enjoy singing a wide range of works for choir to a high standard. Founded in 2004, the choir performs a wide range of music, both sacred and secular, from Tudor motets to arrangements of jazz standards and pop songs.
Listen a sample of the choir and the orchestra on the Hill’s recording for their forthcoming album of Brahms’s Geistluches Lied, Op. 30 at www.chu.cam.ac.uk/societies/music/?q=recordings
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge has gained a reputation as one of the leading university choral groups in the world. Music plays a significant role in the life of Clare College, both instrumentally and chorally. The Choir sings three weekly choral services in the College Chapel during the academic terms, and maintains a busy external schedule with regular concert and festival appearances in the UK and abroad, radio and television broadcasts, international touring, and recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label. The College’s Director of Music is conductor and composer Graham Ross, himself an alumnus of the College. The Choir has appeared twice at the BBC Proms (the first Oxbridge mixed choir ever to do so), and frequently performs with the world’s leading orchestras. The Choir has commissioned many new works, and in recent years has given world première performances of works by John Tavener, Tarik O’Regan, Brett Dean, John Rutter, Giles Swayne, Matthew Martin, Nico Muhly, Cecilia MacDowall, Héloïse Werner, Emily Hazrati, Josephine Stephenson, and Graham Ross. The Choir LiveStreams its Sunday Chapel services on the Choir’s YouTube channel, and gives frequent broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, and BBC Television.
The chapel choir sings regular services in the College chapel and often travels to sing in concerts and services outside Cambridge. The choir also goes on an international tour in the summer. In 2015, the choir will be performing in London as part of the Brandenburg Choral Festival and will be joined by the Cambridge Baroque Camerata in a special concert of Bach’s St John Passion.
Keep an eye on the College's news and events webpages for further updates.
The Darwin College Choir is an enthusiastic group that sings a variety of musical styles and welcomes members with all levels of experience in choral singing.
Keep up with musical news via the Facebook group.
The Chapel Choir of Downing College is unique in Cambridge in that its direction, administration, and accompaniment rests entirely on the shoulders of the organ scholars. They and the Choir are supported and mentored by the Director of College & Chapel Music and the Chaplain. Besides weekly services in the College chapel, the Choir undertakes regular cathedral visits, swaps with other college choirs, and overseas tours – most recently to Scandinavia, Lithuania, and the US & Canada. Follow the Choir on Twitter (@choirdowning), Facebook, and YouTube.
Emmanuel College choir sings weekly Choral Eucharist and Evensong in the chapel during term. Besides these regular commitments, the choir makes occasional visits to other British churches and cathedrals, most recently St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Norwich and Ely Cathedrals, and goes on regular foreign tours. The choir has recorded several CDs, and is well known for its friendly and supportive ethos.
The choir has recently recorded a CD of choral works by E W Naylor and forthcoming performances include the Brandenburg Choral Festival in London and a tour to Copenhagen. Find out more and listen to recordings on the College website.
Fitzwilliam's choir is known for its high standard of singing, a commitment to a varied repertoire and its friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Most singers are members of Fitzwilliam College with some volunteers from other Colleges. The choir's main duty is to provide music for the weekly evening chapel service. It also sings joint services with other collegiate choirs, and has visited some of England's finest cathedrals including Ely, Peterborough, St Edmundsbury and Norwich.
The chapel choir at Girton College is an international-prize-winning choir of some 28 members. During Full Term, the choir's principal function is to sing the liturgy in the College chapel twice a week.
The choir has recorded several CDs and visits major churches throughout Britain as well as touring internationally. It also collaborates with professional musicians, such as the London Mozart Players, as well as eminent guest directors such as Christopher Robinson, Sir David Willcocks, Judith Clurman, Tim Brown and David Lowe.
The choir sings Chapel services during the University term and has a busy schedule of additional activities including concerts, recordings and broadcasts. The Choir travels extensively abroad, performing at a variety of venues ranging from major concert halls to universities, cathedrals and churches in Europe, America and Asia.
The choir’s recordings have often specialised in the re-discovery of forgotten choral repertories, including previously unpublished music from within the English choral tradition and beyond, as well as championing new music such as choral works by British composers Judith Weir and Julian Anderson.
The Charter Choir was founded in 2009 in celebration of Homerton gaining its Royal Charter and obtaining College status within the University. It performs a variety of choral music, ranging from plainchant to Henry Purcell to Arvo Pärt, for Evensong, College occasions, visits beyond Cambridge and an annual international tour.
Hughes Hall choir offers opportunities to sing a range of music types, and in recent years has included sessions with a gospel choir leader, an evening of Mandolin-based folk song and an introduction to the Carnatic music (and dance) tradition of South India.
Jesus College has a long and rich tradition of church music. It is distinctive in maintaining two choirs: the chapel choir, which is made up of boy choristers and adult singers; and the College choir, formed in 1982, which has female undergraduates for its top line. The altos, tenors and basses form the ‘back row’ for both choirs.
The chapel choir sings for two of the four choral Evensongs each week and also participates in services, events and concerts outside of the usual weekly routine. The boy choristers come from in and around Cambridge and are an integral part of music-making within the College community.
The College choir sings the other two services each week and regularly performs at College feasts, additional services and concerts throughout the United Kingdom and abroad, as has collaborated with the charity Songbound, leading singing workshops with children in the slums of Mumbai. The choir also has a relationship with the Britten Sinfonia and have appeared with the orchestra on a number of occasions throughout the United Kingdom.
Occasionally, the College and chapel choirs join together for services and concerts, forming an ensemble of nearly fifty singers.
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge
For more than half a millennium, King’s College Chapel has been the home to one of the world’s most loved and renowned choirs. Since its foundation in 1441 by the 19-year-old King Henry VI, choral services in the Chapel, sung by this choir, have been a fundamental part of life in the College. The Choir is formed of 16 boy choristers, aged between nine and 13 years and educated at King’s College School, and 14 male choral scholars and two organ scholars, who study a variety of subjects in the College.
As well as its annual worldwide broadcasts of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Choir has an extensive discography and performs around the world; listen to webcasts on the College website, like the Facebook page, follow @choirofkingscam on Twitter and watch the YouTube channel. You can also find out more about the Concerts at King’s series and the Easter from King’s Festival.
The College is also home to King's Voices, a mixed choir which sings a weekly Evensong in the chapel during term time, as well as performing at other College events and touring in the UK and abroad. Find out more here: King's Voices | King's College Cambridge
The King's Men
The King's Men is the close harmony close harmony group formerly known as Collegium Regale; although its members are choral scholars, the group functions separately from the choir. Their most recent recording features arrangements of pop and jazz hits from Cole Porter to Carly Rae Jepsen. Find out more at www.kingsmencambridge.co.uk.
Since their first public concert in 2009, the Lucy Cavendish Singers have been capturing the hearts and minds of audiences with their vibrant performances and imaginative programmes.
Performing entirely from memory, the Singers bring enormous commitment and spontaneity to their songs. The varied musical background of the individual singers supports a wide-ranging repertoire from jazz and traditional music to classical pieces.
Magdalene's ambitious and friendly College Choir sings Evensong twice a week. Alongside their chapel commitments the Choir performs regularly at College events, as well as for visiting services and concerts around the UK. The Choir has recorded several CDs, and undertakes a yearly foreign tour, including South Africa, Europe, the US and the Far East.
The student-run choir at Murray Edwards performs regularly in concerts and at College occasions. Open to music of any style, including classical, folk and a cappella, it welcomes singers of all levels who can read music.
Newnham and Selwyn
Newnham College shares the chapel and the chaplain at Selwyn, and the mixed chapel choir of Selwyn College (founded in 1976) now consists of up to twenty eight choral scholars from the two Colleges and a few volunteers. During term, the choir sings three services per week in the chapel, as well as concerts and services throughout the UK. Its repertoire ranges from the 10th to the 21st century. The choir has made a number of recordings and undertakes an international tour every year.
Newnham College Choir
Newnham also has its own non-auditioning, student-run choir, which rehearses every week and performs in the end of term concerts. The choir welcomes all college staff and students of all musical abilities.
Voices of Newnham
Voices of Newnham is the College's a cappella group, which performs at College concerts and special events throughout the year.
Find out more on the College's music webpage.
As well as the chapel choir, Pembroke provides opportunities for more informal singing through participation in The Pembroke Singers, who give two concerts a year, performing a wide variety of repertoire from Bach to Disney, and the Wren Choir, which is made up of graduates and meets out of term.
The Peterhouse Chapel Choir is a friendly and diverse group drawn from the undergraduate body of the College and beyond. The choir consists of about sixteen selectively chosen mixed voices who receive exhibitions or scholarships. As well as singing in the College chapel and at College feasts, the choir regularly sings Evensong around the UK and goes on international tours.
The mixed chapel choir comprises both choral scholars and volunteers both from Queens' and outside. In addition to singing for two or three chapel services a week in term time, the choir travels regularly, singing for services around the country, and giving concerts on international tours. Its most recent recordings on Guild Music, Flight of Song, Songs of Heaven and Earth, and Love and Honour have attracted widespread critical acclaim.
The chapel choir is an exciting, friendly and enthusiastic group comprising choral scholars and volunteers from Robinson and other Colleges.
As well as two services a week throughout term, it also gives concerts, makes occasional visits to cathedrals and exchanges with other choirs, radio broadcasts and summer tours. Recent tour destinations have included Toronto, Prague, Verona, Granada and Hong Kong.
Selwyn College Chapel Choir has led worship in the College chapel since its foundation in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The choir today is mixed and consists of up to twenty-eight singers, choral ccholars (called Choral Exhibitioners) from Selwyn and Newnham and some volunteers.
The choir sings three services a week in the College chapel, as well as concerts and services throughout the UK, recently in venues including Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, and St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh. International tour destinations have included Israel and Palestine, Canada, New Zealand and the United States as well as European locations.
The choir is a major focus of College life, and is made up of six to eight sopranos, six altos (male and female), six tenors, three baritones, and three basses. During term time the choir has a regular commitment in the chapel to choral Evensong on Fridays and Sundays and Latin Choral Vespers on Wednesdays. Annual performance tours abroad take place during the vacations, most recently to the USA and Dubai.
St Catharine’s College boasts a distinguished and varied musical tradition, in which the College choir plays a major role. Outside the College walls, the choir’s concerts and recordings, educational and community work, has earned it a reputation for innovation and excellence.
St Edmund's is unique in being the only (full college) Roman Catholic Foundation in Oxbridge. Musical opportunities are such that anyone can participate, regardless of their situation or level of experience. The Chapel Choir is non-auditioned and open to anyone, and sings for the Sunday Mass; the Chapel Schola is an auditioned consort of 8-10 singers, who are generally experienced musicians and comfortable singing one- or two-to-a-part. The Schola sings for Mass and Vespers generally on weeknights and occasional weekends. Repertoire is varied and includes plenty of plainchant as well as Mass and Canticle settings from the Renaissance period to the present day. The Choirs have a thriving social life - the Dean's parties are legendary.
St John's College Choir
The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions from its broadcasts, concert tours and over 100 recordings. Founded in the 1670s, the Choir is known for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, its expressive interpretations and its ability to sing in a variety of styles. Alongside this discipline, the Choir is particularly proud of its happy, relaxed and mutually supportive atmosphere. The Choir is directed by Christopher Gray following in a long line of eminent Directors of Music, recently Dr George Guest, Dr Christopher Robinson, Dr David Hill and Andrew Nethsingha. The choir’s first release on their imprint with Signum Classics, DEO, won the Choral Award at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017.
St John's Voices
Probably Cambridge's newest choir, St John's Voices is also one of its most ambitious ensembles. Formed in 2013, the choir has already developed an enviable reputation for the quality of its musicianship and for its exciting and unusual projects. Unusually for Cambridge choirs St John's Voices has a dual remit, focusing both on concerts and external engagements as well as a weekly evensong in the Victorian Gothic splendour of the Chapel at St John's.
The choir tours regularly and has released two albums on the Naxos label to critical acclaim. St John’s Voices has reached an unexpected new audience through its social media output, especially with several viral videos on TikTok. More information, including videos of the choir’s performances, maybe found on their website.
The Gents of St John's
Choral scholars at St John's also make up The Gents of St John's, a professional close-harmony group, who perform separately from the choir at external engagements and the College's May Ball. The group are entirely student-run, with next year’s plans including international tours, album recordings for Spotify, as well as concerts up and down the country. Listen online, watch on YouTube, like the Facebook page, and follow @gentsofstjohns on Twitter and Instagram.
Voted the fifth best choir in the world by Gramophone magazine, The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge comprises around 30 Choral Scholars and two Organ Scholars, all of whom are students at the University.
Trinity’s rich choral tradition goes back to the fourteenth century; Directors of Music have included Charles Villiers Stanford, Alan Gray, Raymond Leppard, Richard Marlow and Stephen Layton. The Choir’s main term-time focus is the singing of the liturgy in the College Chapel, with all services since 2012 webcast live. Outside of term, the Choir undertakes an extensive schedule of recordings and concerts, including regular international tours. Critical acclaim for the Choir’s recordings includes a Gramophone Award and a GRAMMY nomination.
Numerous Trinity Choral and Organ Scholars proceed to successful professional music careers. Recent alumni include Owain Park, Helen Charlston, Jess Dandy, Gwilym Bowen, Christopher Lowrey, Eddie Redmayne and Alexander Armstrong. Two leading vocal ensembles, The Gesualdo Six and Stile Antico, have their roots in Trinity; Trinity alumni sing with ensembles including Voces8, The Monteverdi Choir, Polyphony, Tenebrae, The Tallis Scholars, and The Sixteen.
For more information visit www.trinitycollegechoir.com
Trinity Hall Chapel Choir is an accomplished consort of approximately 22 voices. Alongside a regular weekly schedule in the chapel, the choir sings for other important liturgical and college occasions throughout the year such as College feasts, concerts, foreign tours and visits to local cathedrals to sing Evensong.
Wolfson College Choir is a mixed choir which draws its membership from across the College community. It typically performs at least one concert and one service per term amongst other College occasions and a summer tour every other year.
Find out more and watch recordings on the College website at www.wolfson.cam.ac.uk/societies/music/choral.
Heffers Bookshop in Cambridge stocks some of the CDs produced by Cambridge's choirs. Alumni received a discount from Heffers, when they present their CAMCard.