CCCS Oxford – an appetite for singing!

Pembroke’s new choristers – CCCS pupils with the school’s Director of Music Sophie Biddell

For the first time in almost thirty years, three Christ Church Cathedral School choirs on Sunday 3 November were singing simultaneously in three Oxford college chapels. Twelve CCCS boys who are newly appointed as choristers at Pembroke College sang music by Elgar and Walmisley at their inaugural evensong at the college last night.

Pembroke’s decision to recruit a line of trebles to sing alongside the adult members of their chapel choir marks a historic moment for both school and college. The boys were auditioned before half term and rehearsed for the first time on Thursday.

Girls take up residency

Earlier this term Christ Church Cathedral welcomed girls’ choir Frideswide Voices as a permanent part of its choral foundation as well as its first female lay clerk, Elizabeth Nurse.

Friedeswide Voices was established in 2014 as the first choir in Oxford for girls aged 7-14. For the past three years the girls have sung termly residencies at Christ Church, New College and Magdalen.

The girls are drawn from more than 25 different schools in and around Oxford and will sing Evensong in the Cathedral once a week under their new Director of Music, Helen Smee.

Christ Church, Worcester AND Pembroke!

Sophie Biddell, Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral School, said: “We could not be more delighted that there is such an appetite for singing among our pupils that – despite our small size – we now field three boys’ choirs: the Cathedral choristers, the trebles who sing at Worcester College, and now the choristers at Pembroke. This new partnership will not only train the boys musically, but it also allows them to access all the wider benefits of regular, serious singing: team-work, confidence, cultural enrichment and – for the founding Head Choristers – leadership.

“It is vital that boys start building their musical skills at a young age, as keen trebles tend to grow into the adult basses, tenors and countertenors on whom so much of the British choral tradition depends. We are incredibly proud that the immense enthusiasm of the new Pembroke choristers  will play a part in supporting this vibrant tradition well into the future.”

Exeter Reunion

Richard Murray, Headmaster of Christ Church Cathedral School, said: “It is lovely for our boys to be singing in the closest college chapel to our school and I look forward to developing a relationship with Pembroke, our nearest neighours, on the other side of Brewer Street.

“We recently had our first Exeter chorister reunion 30 years after our trebles stopped singing at the college. It was evident to me the lifelong effect that the experience had had on these former choristers. I am delighted that a new generation of college boy choristers are now in existence.”