Photo by Laura Pannack
Reality checkpoint: Jordan Wong
Prince Philip Scholar, Jordan Wong, is in his second year reading Classics and is senior organ scholar at Jesus.
As vibrant as it can be when you have a full choir singing and acoustics swirling around, the chapel can be very peaceful.
When I was 13 growing up in Hong Kong, my music teacher said: “You play the piano – why not try the organ?” I’d never heard of it but gave it a try – and it fascinated me.
As one of Jesus’s two organ scholars, I work with our choir and choristers, spending at least two hours a day either in the College chapel or the Song School – and when we start rehearsals before term begins, it can be whole days. It is a big commitment; sometimes I wish I could go to the bar instead. But at the chapel, with the choir, I feel at home.
Bach never disappoints, especially on the organ in Jesus Chapel. Our organ is versatile – you can make it sound very clean in texture; it can sound full yet not tiring. But it’s not my organ playing that makes the chapel my reality checkpoint. It’s the friendly people brought together – students, fellows, tourists, musicians – and the atmosphere. It’s the oldest chapel in Cambridge, it’s big, and when I first saw it, it felt daunting. But now I know it’s not as scary as it looks or sounds. Every time I go in, I’m taken by how beautiful it is.
As vibrant as it can be when you have a full choir singing and acoustics swirling around, the chapel can be very peaceful. I confess I do like it when it’s quiet and I play the organ in the darkness. Sometimes when I finish practising, I can’t help but walk around and just feel the place. It is magical.
Interview by Olivia Gordon. This article first appeared in CAM - the Cambridge Alumni Magazine, edition 79. Find out how to receive CAM.
About the Prince Philip Scholarship
Since 1982 the Prince Philip Scholarship has supported over 165 promising Hong Kong students to undertake undergraduate studies at Cambridge. The fund is raised and managed by an Alumni Group called The Friends of Cambridge University in Hong Kong. Find out more.