To find out what music will be offered at services in the Chapel this term, please click here.The focus of the Choir’s activities is the chapel, with one of the finest acoustics in Cambridge, and the regular weekly services of Evensong, Eucharist and Compline. At Sunday Evensong we sing the Anglican liturgy in its traditional form, while at Thursday night Compline we use Medieval Gregorian chant, choral and instrumental chamber music to create a more intimate atmosphere. The Choir also participates – on a rotational basis – in Sunday morning Eucharist and – on occasion – contributes to the Tuesday evening service of Luminaria, alongside the St Catharine’s Girls’ Choir.
The Choir gives at least two major choral concerts each year as part of the Kellaway Concert Series. In the past two years the Choir has performed Brahms's Requiem, Bach’s St John Passion, Mozart's Requiem and the Monteverdi Vespers.
Membership of the Choir is by audition, and anyone interested in singing in the Choir is encouraged to contact us at any point to enquire about auditions.
The Choir is made up of between 20 and 25 singers, drawn mainly from undergraduate and graduate students at St Catharine’s College, but also open to students from other colleges. Prospective singers may wish to apply for a Choral Scholarship in advance of their arrival at Cambridge; singers can also audition when they arrive in Cambridge as freshers.
The Choir is a lively and sociable group, a characteristic of the College as a whole. This is enhanced by the opportunities provided for choir members to share meals together, tour and record together and play a part in some of the most significant events in the College’s calendar.
On Thursdays, during or after rehearsals, the Choir is given free supper, and, on Sundays after Evensong, free dinner. Choir members may all receive free singing tuition, either with Dr Edward Wickham or with an external singing teacher.
St Catharine's aims to attract talented and ambitious singers who are nevertheless not wanting to devote all their energies to this one activity. Members of the Choir have the opportunity to be involved in a wider range of musical and non-musical activities such as running the College Music Society, playing for, singing in and even producing musicals and operas.
Nevertheless, membership of the Choir represents an important commitment. A typical weekly schedule consists of:
Wednesday 5.15-6.30 pm: Rehearsal between 5.15 and 6.30 pm
Thursday 5.15- 6.30 Rehearsal followed by free supper
7.00-7.30 Sectional rehearsals (Eucharist/Compline groups)
9.30-10.15 pm: Compline (Choir in rotation)
Sunday 9.15-11 am Rehearsal and Eucharist (Choir in rotation)
4.45-7.00 pm Rehearsal and Evensong
In addition, each term there will be:
• Occasional participation in Luminaria (Tuesday evenings)
• Major choral concert
• Feast day services/carol services
Concerts, Tours and Recording
One of the major attractions of singing in St Catharine’s Choir is the opportunity to engage with wider audiences through concerts, tours and recordings.
The Choir gives at least one concert a term in College, featuring major works such as Brahms’ Requiem and Bach’s St John Passion as well as a cappella repertoire. Every year the Choir undertakes a major summer tour: recent trips have included China, Japan, Malaysia, and the USA. In summer 2014 the Choir will be spending a week touring in Ireland (see Tour Page for details). The cost of tours is substantially subsidised by the College.
The Choirs at St Catharine’s are committed to innovative work, and this is reflected in its latest CD recording – The Thread of my Song – which weaves together recent commissions for the choir with music from the 17th century, interspersing Western and Eastern chants, live and electro-acoustic elements in a uniquely innovative mix.
William Fairbairn, Neville Burston Organ Scholar
Last modified 2nd March 2015