November 2018

The first 2 months of the Autumn term have kept the Chapel Choir busy and active, both on campus and in London. Most recently, we traveled to St. Bartholomew-the-Great in London to sing Mozart's Requiem for All Souls' Day. It was a moving performance of a very well-loved and familiar piece to many in the choir, and it was also lovely to be able to travel off campus and experience performing in a different venue!

This past weekend kept all of us up to our ears in some truly wonderful music with two very different concerts. On Friday, we traveled to St. Martin-in-the-Fields to perform a programme featuring the works of Sir C.H.H. Parry, to mark the centenary of his death. While in London, we had the opportunity between rehearsal and concert to explore central London a little - being from the United States, I had never seen that part of the city before, so a few of my friends took me around and showed me some of their favorite parts, including Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace! We speed-walked back to the church just in time for the concert, which was truly a pleasure and a privilege to sing.

The following day had us equally busy in preparation for that evening's concert in celebration of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. We performed alongside the Brandenburg Baroque Soloists in a program featuring two works by J.S. Bach, a Handel organ concerto, and Vivaldi's Gloria. Following the concert, the 2nd and 3rd years were invited to a banquet dinner with some of the patrons of the choir, during which we performed various selections from throughout the term between courses. It's been great fun to be part of such an active, enthusiastic, and talented group of musicians, and I look forward to moving into the Advent and Christmas season with them!

Image: the choir at the end of their concert for the Brandenburg Choral Festival Concert, November 2018

Clara Swartzentruber, Soprano, Visiting Music Student


September & October 2018

The term began with 'choir camp' which involved singing in beautiful venues such as Portsmouth Cathedral, Winchester College chapel and Romsey Abbey. An intense rehearsal schedule combined with living (and cooking) for each other for four days gave us the perfect opportunity to get to know one another. Highlights of the residential included a workshop with former King’s Singer David Hurley, as well as exploring the beautiful town of Winchester. On Saturday evening, we also performed our ensemble pieces informally to the rest of the choir which gave us a chance to receive constructive criticism from our peers.

The first half of term has involved several successful Midweek Music concerts with an overarching theme of ‘Cityscapes’; featured cities have included Gloucester, with the English premiere of a work by David Bednall, and Paris, in which we sang pieces by the likes of Debussy, Fauré and Poulenc. We have already performed two commissions this term: ‘The Cry’ by Adrian Snell and a commission from the Hellenic Institute (a research centre based in Royal Holloway’s Department of History) entitled ‘The Odyssey’ by Lydia Kakabadse. We sang ‘The Cry’ with a children’s choir and string orchestra at Windsor Parish Church and the latter was performed in the Royal Holloway Chapel to an appreciative audience which included the Ambassador of Greece. It has been really wonderful to be involved in such diverse musical activities, and I am thoroughly looking forward to lots more performances throughout the rest of term!

Image: the choir rehearse in the Church of Holy Trinity, Privett, next-door to our accommodation.

Maia Jarvis, 1st Year Soprano, Music & English Student