Image of choristers discussing during Handel's Messiah rehearsal
Credit: Martin Bond

Choir outreach

Local community in Cambridgeshire

The Choirs of Jesus College are uniquely involved in the local community of Cambridge. Rather than maintaining a choir school, we recruit all our Choristers from local schools, helping many young boys to gain access to an excellent and varied musical education.

The Choirs also run Singing Days and ‘Be a Chorister for a Day’ events, which allow the College to share its facilities and expertise with the local community.

Singing Days enable boys and girls aged 6–11 to enjoy workshops with our vocal teachers for a fun afternoon of singing. This culminates in an informal performance for their parents in the magical surroundings of the College Chapel. No musical experience is necessary to take part and all children are welcome.

Our 'Be a Chorister for a Day' events invite local boys to a singing workshop, after which they join the Choristers to take part in Evensong in the College Chapel. This is a great opportunity to get an idea of what life is like as a Chorister at Jesus and to ask any questions you might have.

Dates for our Singing Days and ‘Be a Chorister for a Day events’ are advertised on our website, or you can contact the Choir & Chapel Office Coordinator for more information.

Since Christmas 2017 the Choir has visited Epworth Court, a retirement home just five minutes away from College, to sing carols to and with the residents. This always includes some of the old favourites such as ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ as well as new close-harmony arrangements. The singing is always followed by tea and cake and a chance to get to know the residents.

In January 2019 the College Choir led a singing workshop with 15 residents of HMP Whitemoor, March, in collaboration with the 'Learning Together' initiative. With music ranging from the sixteenth century to the present day, the choir performed a few pieces to the residents, but most rewarding was learning to sing and harmonize together as a group. There were also chances to chat to the residents and learn a bit about each other. The Choir went back on two more occasions in Spring 2019, including a celebratory showcase event where the Whitemoor residents performed some of their own music and poetry.

Visiting schools and choirs

The Choirs of Jesus College enjoy welcoming visiting choirs to sing a joint service in the College’s beautiful Chapel. Members of visiting school or youth choirs rehearse and perform in the choir stalls mixed in amongst the current choral scholars. Visits regularly include an opportunity to meet current choral and organ scholars studying a wide range of subjects during tea or supper.

Past collaborations have included visits from Saffron Walden Junior Choir, King's School Wimbledon, St Peter's School York, Langley Hall Primary Academy, the Choir of Derby High School, the Chamber Choir of the University of Virginia, Langley Primary Academy, Stockport Grammar School, Hereford Sixth Form College, Frideswide Voices Oxford, and Inner Voices, the ground-breaking chamber choir formed of young people from a number of inner London state schools.

Potential applicants for scholarship in the Choir are more than welcome to attend services or rehearsals and to arrange to meet with the Director of Music. If you are interested in doing so, please Choir & Chapel Office Coordinator.

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