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Choir of Royal Holloway visit Wells Cathedral School WCS in Somerset England

Choir of Royal Holloway visit Wells

On Saturday 11th March, the Choir of Royal Holloway, University of London, were welcomed to Wells Cathedral with their conductor, Rupert Gough.

The Choir gave a spellbinding performance in aid of Wells Cathedral Chorister Trust (WCCT) and the Choristers were delighted to join them for the first half of the programme.

It was particularly wonderful for the Cathedral to welcome back Rupert, a former Assistant Organist of Wells Cathedral, and organist Andrew Dewar (2000), a former Junior Organ Scholar at Wells. It was also a huge delight to see James Gooding (2021), a former Wells Head Chorister, who is now singing baritone at Royal Holloway.

The concert opened with J S Bach’s motet, O Jesu Christ, mein Lebens Licht. This was followed by Rupert’s sublime choral arrangement of Ravel’s Pavane pour one infant defunté, a work that the Choristers thoroughly enjoyed singing. Mendelssohn’s I waited for the Lord is a firm favourite of the Choristers and it was a wonderful to hear them singing this with the visiting choir. The first part of the programme ended with a captivating performance of Lithuanian composer, Vytautas Miškinis’s hypnotic piece Oi šala, šala. This was performed ‘in the round’ with the Choristers and Choir of Royal Holloway gathered in small groups surrounding the audience. It’s certainly the first time the Choristers had sung a piece in Lithuanian!

The next two items were by contemporary Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo. Firstly, an arrangement of a traditional Norwegian song, Ingen Vinner Frem. The composer’s peaceful and introspective Agnus Dei followed, filling the Cathedral with the Choir’s glowing sound, as did Matthew Coleridge’s setting of the German evening hymn, Abenleid. The final two items of the concert were by the 20th-century French composer, Pierre Villette. The first, his Hymne à la Vierge, is a firm choral favourite with its colourful flowing harmonies. The second, larger work was Villette’s Missa ‘Da Pacem’, performed in a Rupert Gough’s own arrangement for choir and organ, which brought the concert to a stunning close.

Christopher Finch, Head of Pupil Programmes & Coordinator of Vocal Studies, commented; “It was wonderful that Rupert and four of his choral scholars found time during their visit to work with former Choristers and other Cathedral School singers. The senior pupils heard about the life of a choral scholar and benefited from Rupert’s expertise as they prepare for the School Chamber Choir’s tour to Greece in the summer. As the latest of a rich tradition of former WCS pupils who have continued their studies as choral scholars at Royal Holloway, it was fantastic that James was able to share his experiences with the current pupils. The School’s Chamber Choir last visited the Royal Holloway campus in 2020 for a joint concert, so the return visit of their Choir to Wells provided an excellent opportunity to further strengthen this treasured relationship.”

We are extremely grateful to the Choir of Royal Holloway for coming to Wells and working with our pupils.

His Majesty King Charles III retains Patronage of Wells Cathedral School
We are delighted that His Majesty King Charles III will remain the Patron of Wells Cathedral School.

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