Local community in Cambridge
The Choirs of Jesus College are uniquely involved in the local community of Cambridge. Rather than maintaining a choir school, Jesus recruits all its Choristers from local schools, helping many young boys to gain access to an excellent and varied musical education. Additionally, the Choirs run Singing Days and ‘Be a Chorister for a Day’ events. These are often held jointly with the girls' choir at St Catharine’s College, are not primarily intended as recruitment events, but allow the College to share its facilities and expertise with the local community.
Singing Days enable children aged 6–11 to enjoy workshops with vocal experts and participate in a short concert alongside current Choristers. No musical experience is necessary to take part in these events, and all are welcome. The first Singing Day was held in 2014 and the most recent in July 2016. To find out more about Singing Days, contact the Choir Administrator.
'Be a Chorister for a Day' events invite local boys to a singing workshop, after which they join the Choristers to take part in a service of Evensong in the College Chapel. The most recent 'Be a Chorister for a Day' event took place in June 2017, with over 20 local boys taking part. To find out more about 'Be a Chorister for the day', contact the Choir Administrator.
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, 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 contact the Choir Administrator.
The College is proud of its ongoing collaboration with the charity Songbound which aims to improve the lives of under-privileged children in India through music and in March 2013, visited Mumbai to work with children. The Choir continues to raise money to support choirs in the slums of Mumbai, and continues to fundraise to promote cultural exchange, in the hope that some of the children the Choir have worked with might visit the UK to collaborate with musicians in Cambridge and other cities.
In December 2014, the College Choir collaborated with educational organisations in Sri Lanka to work with various choirs of schoolchildren in Colombo, Kandy, Galle and Jaffna.
Former Director of Music Mark Williams is also a trustee of the Muze Trust which works to promote music education in Zambia. In July 2013, the Choir of Jesus College joined the Choir of Merton College, Oxford and pupils of St Margaret's School Bushey in St James's Church, Piccadilly for a concert to raise money for the Muze Trust. The Choirs of Jesus and Merton Colleges joined together again each year until 2016 since to sing concerts in aid of the Muze Trust in both college chapels, featuring Tallis' 40-part motet, Spem in alium.
It is hoped that the Choir will continue its international outreach work with return visits to India and Sri Lanka in future years, and with a concert tour and educational project planned in South Africa in 2018.