The Fitzwilliam College Chapel Choir is known for its high standard of singing, a commitment to a wide range of repertoire and its friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
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The Chapel Choir is comprised of between 16 and 20 undergraduate and graduate students, both male and female. Most of the members of the choir are students at Fitzwilliam but Volunteers are also drawn from other Cambridge colleges.
The choir is led by Senior Organ Scholar Amalie Fisher under the guidance of the Director of Music Katharine Parton. Members of the choir from Fitzwilliam receive indvidual vocal lessons from esteemed performer and singing teacher Sarah Leonard and, from 2014-15, all singers benefit from regular workshops with visiting guest conductor Matthew Waldren.
The Chapel Choir
The choir's main duty is to provide music for the weekly evening service, held in the award-winning College Chapel, which boasts some of the best choral acoustics in the university, singing full Choral Evensong, Communion Masses, Requiems, Carol Services, Evening Prayer and Compline across the year. Fitzwilliam Chapel Choir sings several 'joint' services a term with other Cambridge colleges recently singing Choral Evensong with the choirs of Sidney Sussex, Emmanuel and Robinson. The choir also regularly sings Choral Evensong as a visiting choir in some of England's finest cathedrals including Ely, Peterborough, St Edmundsbury and Norwich as well as often being warmly invited to sing in churches across Cambridgeshire. The choir sings an annual joint service with St Edmund's Hall, Oxford - this year the choir will travel to Oxford for the service. In summer 2015 the Choir traveled to Northern Ireland to complete a residency at St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast and also sang a service at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh. In summer 2016 the Chapel Choir had residencies at St David's, Wales and also at Lichfield Cathedral.
Fitzwilliam College Chapel Choir features at the college's formal dinners and events when they perform a sung grace freshly composed by each Senior Organ Scholar in turn. They also regularly perform in concert where they are able to explore repertoire beyond the Chapel genre. In March 2006 the choir recorded its first CD, Songs on the Hill, covering a range of music from both sacred and secular repertoire, and a follow-up CD of Christmas carols was released, with a further disc recorded in 2013.
The music sung in Chapel covers a wide variety of genres, from Renaissance motets to contemporary works. The Director of Music Katharine Parton is always keen to hear from composers who are interested in submitting scores, both secular and sacred, for performance.
Choral Awards are available through the Intercollegiate Choral Award Scheme but may also be applied for during Michaelmas term. Each Choral Scholar receives £100 and free singing lessons with Sarah Leonard organised by the college and held in the Chapel.
The Fitzwilliam Chapel Choir provides a wonderful opportunity for Organ Scholars as it particularly welcomes organ scholars who are keen to develop their musical directing and conducting skills. However, through the Director of Music, Katharine Parton, the College is also able to support Organ Scholars who are keen to focus on playing the organ. The Organ Scholars are normally appointed through the Intercollegiate Organ Scholar Scheme but prospective organist applicants, both for graduate and undergraduate degrees, are always welcome to come and play the organ and should contact the Director of Music for further information. Fitzwilliam usually has two organ scholars, a Senior and a Junior, who share the playing, conducting and running of the choir between them although the Conducting and Musical Leadership Scholar may also be part of leadership team and regularly conduct the choir. Both Conducting and Organ Scholars receive £450 per year and the Organ Scholars recieve free organ and lessons with the teacher of their choice. The Organ Scholars also receive individual conducting lessons from the Director of Music and also benefit from regular conducting coachings with visiting musicians. The Director of Music Katharine Parton (email@example.com) is always delighted to hear from pros
Fitzwilliam College has begun a new award for a current Fitzwilliam College student to spend a year learning the organ and conducting. Please contact the Director of Music (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in applying for this position or finding out more. You should be an accomplished performer on a keyboard instrument but no experience in playing the organ is required.
The Chapel Choir welcomes members irrespective of their religious affiliation or denomination. Current vacancies are open in the Bass (II) and Tenor sections, with the possibility of a Choral Award for Fitzwilliam College members (including postgraduate students), but the Director of Music (email@example.com) is always pleased to hear from talented singers in any voice part as we do not operate with strict quotas for each voice part.
Commitment and Benefits
The choir requires a relatively light commitment for a Cambridge college choir allowing members to combine their choral activity with a broad selection of other experiences. Members of the choir interested in covering more repertoire or increasing their one-per-part experience regularly sing at the Sunday morning Communion services in groups of four or six. Benefits of being a member of the choir include;
- free singing lessons with visiting professional teacher
- free meals each time the choir sings in college including hot suppers on Sundays after the service
- regular, free workshops with visiting musicians
- the Choir has a free formal meal each term, 'Choir Formal', including an invitation to dine at High Table in Lent Term
Thursdays rehearsal 7-9pm
Compline 9pm (usually 15-20mins)
Sundays rehearsal 4.30pm
Choral Evensong 6pm (usually 55 mins)
Chaplain: Rev Helen Arnold (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Director of Music: Katharine Parton (email@example.com)
Senior Organ Scholar: Amalie Fisher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1991 - 1994 Kathryn Magson
1993 - 1996 Alex Tester
1995 - 1998 Philip Collin
1996 - 1999 Iain McGregor
1998 - 2001 Nic le Breuilly
2000 - 2003 Robin Davis
2002 - 2005 Richard Harker
2004 - 2008 Ellie Goodfield
2005 - 2009 Alex West
2009 - 2012 Will Warns
2010 - 2013 Pawel Rzemieniecki
2012 - Charles Gurnham
For any enquiries about the Chapel Choir the Director of Music Katharine Parton (email@example.com).