The Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen is made up of 18 choral scholars who sing at weekly services in King's College Chapel on Wednesdays at 5:15 pm and at other special services, such as the popular Carol Service held each year in St Machar’s Cathedral. They are the successors to the original Vicars Choral appointed by Bishop Elphinstone at the foundation of the University in 1495 to sing the Daily Office.
Today’s repertoire ranges from plainchant and early polyphony, which would have been familiar to Elphinstone’s contemporaries, to new works specially written for the choir by staff and postgraduate composers. The ecumenical nature of worship in Chapel enables the choir to sing music from many different traditions. The Chapel has an organ of international distinction by the French builder Bernard Aubertin.
Chapel Music is directed by the Master of Chapel and Ceremonial Music, Prof David J Smith. As well as the singers, there is a Postgraduate Organ Scholar and a David Gordon Memorial Organ Scholar, who is an undergraduate student. On occasion the choir is directed by distinguished visiting musicians such as Ralph Allwood and James O’Donnell.
The Choir performs locally, nationally and internationally.
Concerts in Aberdeen Chapel Choir has performed in a number of concerts as part of the University’s concert series over recent years. Repertoire has included an Ode for St Cecelia’s Day by the seventeenth-century composer, John Blow, with the University’s Baroque Ensemble playing on original instruments. We premiered two motets by Phillip Cooke in chapel services, before performing them in a concert which took place in St Machar’s Cathedral. St Leonard’s, Hythe
It was an invitation to sing in the concert series promoted by St Leonard’s, Hythe, that took the Choir to Kent and to Canterbury Cathedral in 2014.
The programme included three works by postgraduate composers working with Prof. Paul Mealor and Dr Phillip Cooke at the University of Aberdeen: John Hudson, Thomas LaVoy and Ed Jones.
In April 2014, Chapel Choir sang at all the services in Canterbury Cathedral for a week, beginning with the Eucharist on Sunday morning.
This was an experience very different from singing in King’s College Chapel: Canterbury is a vast space to fill.
Tour to Hungary
The Choir went on tour to Budapest from 4 to 8 August 2013, where it gave concerts in:
- Szent Anna Templom (5 August)
- Berlvárosi Szent Anna Szervita Templom (6 August – pictured)
- Szent Mihály Templom (7 August)
See the programme below.
Insanae et vanae curae
- O quam gloriosum
- O magnum mysterium
Three Spirituals from A Child for our Time
- Steal away
- Nobody knows
- Deep river
- Justorum animae
- Beati quorum
- Spotless Rose
- Ubi caritas
Three English anthems
- If ye love me
- Hosanna to the son of David
- Hear my prayer
I was glad
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)
Michael Tippett (1905-1998)
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)
Paul Mealor (1975-)
Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585)
Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623)
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Hubert Parry (1848-1918)
- Auditions and Scholarships
Entry to the Chapel Choir is open to anyone regardless of religious belief or affiliation following successful audition. The choir is small and friendly, and is made up of both music students and those studying a wide range of other subjects, as well as staff and those from outside the university. Auditions are held in September each year.
In academic year 2016-2017, auditions will take place on Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 September in room 004, MacRobert Building. The audition will take 10 minutes, and will comprise
- A piece of your own choice. We need between two and three minutes of music, so please do not be put off if we stop you in the middle. Choose a piece with which you are comfortable, and that will show your voice at its best.
- A voice test designed primarily to find your range.
Each student member is awarded a choral scholarship worth £500 p.a., payable in two instalments. Choir members are expected to attend rehearsals on Wednesdays from 2.15 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. and to sing at Wednesdays services from 5.15 p.m. to about 6.00 p.m., and to sing in all concerts, tours and recordings. For more information about the following scholarships, please contact David J Smith.
- Organ scholarships
- Choir, auditions and scholarships