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St John’s hosts gifted students with a passion for singing and music

Talented young vocalists from around the UK have arrived at St John’s to take part in a week-long summer school to learn from leaders in the field of music.

The Cambridge Choral Course is being hosted by St John’s College until 30 August, and is aimed at young people aged 16-20 who have a talent and passion for singing and music.

Over an intensive seven-day period, the 80 residential students will sample the life of a Choral Scholar at the University, taking part in choral training, individual singing lessons, focused workshops, and both formal and informal performances in spectacular settings. Students will stay in accommodation and take their meals at St John’s, giving them a taste of undergraduate life at the home of one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world.

The full choir of students will sing a wide range of music spanning the last five centuries up to the present day, and the students will also be separated into small ‘Consorts’ where they will sing a variety of music from madrigals to close-harmony and jazz arrangements.

Participants on this year’s course will take part in some exciting performances, including singing Choral Evensong at King’s College Chapel, recording BBC Choral Evensong, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 13 December, and performing in recitals and concerts at the College. Those who play instruments can also join the course orchestra, and there are further opportunities for organists and for solo performances in the closing concert.

The students will also receive coaching from leading figures in choral music. Tim Johnson, Director of Music at Eton College, is the Course Director, and the Organ Director is Tom Winpenny, Assistant Master of the Music at St Albans Cathedral. There will be a vocal masterclass with David Lowe, a classical music vocal specialist, a choral workshop with Andrew Nethsingha, Director of Music at St John’s, and a Consort Workshop with Timothy Wayne-Right from the King’s Singers. The students will receive individual advice from specialists with singing, sight-reading and aural tests, and lessons will also be given in stress-reduction techniques.

The course was set up in 1980 by distinguished choral director Ralph Allwood in order to help young singers develop their talents and potential. Originally, the Cambridge element was particularly geared towards helping young people who were thinking of applying to the University for a Choral Scholarship. These are offered by many Cambridge Colleges, and as well as studying for a degree, Scholars sing in the College Choir, perform at services and at other events, and go on tour during the vacation.

Today, the Cambridge Choral Course is one of six nationwide, and attracts not just those considering a musical education at Cambridge as their next step, but a much wider range of young people who want to perform at the highest level with like-minded musicians.

For more information about the Cambridge Choral Course, see the course website.

To find out about Choral Awards at Cambridge, visit the webpage here.

Further details about the Choir of St John’s College Cambridge may be found here.