Emmanuel has a choir of around 25 men and women, which sings at services each Thursday and Sunday in term. College occasions are marked with special services throughout the year.
Besides this regular schedule, the choir makes occasional visits to other British churches and cathedrals, as well as an annual foreign tour, including recently Mexico, Sweden, Thailand, the USA, Rome, Prague, Denmark, Munich and Barcelona. In recent years the choir has also joined with the University Musical Society (CUMS) to perform Elgar’s Kingdom in King’s College Chapel and Mahler’s Second Symphony in Ely Cathedral. They have given performances of Bach's St John Passion and Mozart's Requiem and have sung alongside students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Academy of Ancient Music at the Barbican. The choir also joined forces with the Proms Youth Choir for a performance of Britten's War Requiem at the Albert Hall.
Many singers are attracted to the choir by our reputation for high musical standards, an exciting programme of events and a very warm atmosphere. The relatively light weekly schedule at Emmanuel makes this an ideal option for people who, in addition to regular high-quality singing, wish to pursue other activities during their time in Cambridge.
Benefits of joining the choir include:
- Free singing lessons with a superb teacher, Berty Rice
- International tours
- Trips to sing in venues in the UK
- An honorarium for Choral Scholars and Exhibitioners
- Free formal dinners after services
Typical weekly schedule:
- Tuesday 5.15-6.45pm rehearsal
- Thursday 4.45-6.45pm rehearsal and Eucharist
- Sunday 4.30-7.00pm rehearsal and Evensong
Like many Cambridge choirs, Emmanuel's contains a mixture of Choral Scholars (elected before arrival at Cambridge) and Choral Exhibitioners and Volunteers, who join when already students at Cambridge. These include both undergraduates and graduates, from Emmanuel and from other colleges.
Joining the Choir as a Choral Scholar
Choral Awards at all colleges are now made only to prospective undergraduate students who already hold an academic offer to Cambridge. Emmanuel is part of the intercollegiate scheme, through which most Choral Awards in Cambridge are made. Details of this scheme, including advice about auditions, and information about the optional Vocal Assessment Day held each September are available on the University's website.
The next auditions will be held in March 2019, for entry in October 2019 (or, for offer holders with deferred places, October 2020). Once you hold an offer of an academic place at Emmanuel, we will contact you with application deadline dates.
University-wide open days for choral scholarships are held in April or May each year (details here) but the Director of Chapel Music, Dr Christopher Whitton, is glad to answer questions and to meet potential applicants through the year.
Joining the Choir as a Choral Exhibitioner or Volunteer
Many people also join the choir on arrival in Cambridge, or during their time there. Most of its members are undergraduates, but graduates, postdocs and others are all extremely welcome. Emmanuel students are awarded Choral Exhibitions, while other members join the choir as Choral Volunteers. Exhibitioners receive a small honorarium, but in other respects all members of the choir receive the same benefits, including singing lessons and dinners. Recruitment happens primarily in the first week of the Michaelmas term: please look out for sign-up lists on arrival, or contact the Director of Music, Dr Christopher Whitton, directly. Vacancies for some voice parts are also sometimes available during the year: please feel free to enquire.