Sir Thomas White left instructions that St John’s should have a choir to assist in the provision of chapel services, and his wishes have been observed for more than four centuries. Today’s choir consists of women and men, undergraduate and graduate, both from St John’s and elsewhere in the University, who enjoy singing a varied repertoire under the direction of the organ scholars.
The choir sings choral evensong every Wednesday in term time, with an introit, canticles, vesicles and an anthem, and for Sunday evensong they lead the singing, which includes congregational hymns. The choir also sings for special college occasions, such as gaudies and carol services, and the Sunday evening term time grace before dinner. Recent choir tours have included the USA, Sweden and South Africa, and music composed for St John’s spans Orlando Gibbons’ early C17th ‘This is the record of John’ and C21st work by Arvo Part, commissioned for the college’s 450th anniversary.
Singers interested in joining the choir are welcome throughout the year to apply to the senior organ scholar for an audition. There are eight choral scholarships, details of which may be found in the scholarships page; auditions for choral awards take place near the beginning of Hilary term.