Why a college has a cathedral. And a look at why we love it so – what a place!
Here is just a fleeting glimpse of the choir and Christ Church – next week we will start to go behind the scenes and you will meet Stephen Darlington, members of the choir and have a look at the Christ Church Choir School – a remarkable small school that I wish I had gone to.
This Oxford Promo video is a typical promo – but it did bring back to me, glimpses of Christ Church, the beauty of the city, the life of the student and sense of academic awe that I had when I first arrived.
How did you feel when you first arrived? I was terrified that I would be the stupid one. I also only knew 2 people when I arrived and wondered how I would fit in socially as well.
I regret that I was a bit of a hearty philistine – Yes I have “swum” in Mercury. The Bulldogs knew me well. I was fortunate to have Charles Stuart as my Moral Tutor and as a regular Tutor. He more than anyone taught me how to think.
I did next to no work for my first 2 years but then knuckled down and in effect did all of the 3 years in one at the end. I only stopped having nightmares about finals a few years back!
I wish that I had participated more broadly at the time. But I did have the time of my life and made the best friends of my life too. More than anything these friendship have and still do sustain me. We have all had our ups and downs – buried our parents – been god parents to our children – and now get old together. I can’t imagine my life without them.
I can rarely go back either to see my friends or Christ Church. This is why I am so excited about bringing some of this here to where I live. I am also making amends I hope for my very uncivilized escapades. No fire extinguisher left unused on my staircase in Peck!
Wishing you too great memories and great friends
Part of our video series in preparation for the USA & Canada 2011 Tour, we hope to provide a bit of background and insight into the daily workings of the choir.
Here you meet Stephen Darlington – the Director – and get a glimpse of the choir in rehearsal of one of my favorite pieces – I was Glad – by Parry – SD talks about how the choir is set up – what it does and we show you where they work and live. We catch a glimpse of the music of the first Director, John Taverner.
If you live in America or Canada, and you are like me an Alumnus of Christ Church or of any college at Oxford, you can’t easily take a day trip down to Oxford to see the place or spend and evening with old friends. You can’t take your spouse or children there easily either. Oxford fades away. As I get older, I feel more cut off from this special time in my life. I feel sad that I have not been able to share this place and experience with those closest to me. As I get older I want to get that feeling again and I want to share it with people that are important to me.
If you are one of the 65 million people in America that either sing in a choir today, or have sung in a choir, you can’t easily get personal exposure to one of the great English Male Choirs. Yes of course you can hear their music or see them on video but how often can you hear them in person? Or even better, how often can you go behind the scenes and be with them as they practice? Or even better how often can you meet them and talk with them about what it is like to be a professional musician aged 9? What would it be like for you to be part of such a musical experience not only to be present for a performance but to get involved directly?
This then is the context for our tour.
We will do our best to bring your experience of Christ Church, or Oxford itself, to you so that you can have a moment when you are taken back there. When you might be able to offer a glimpse to those you love and care for of the essence of the spirit of that place.
We will do our best to bring a full choral and musical experience to those of you that love choral music. In each place we perform, we will have an open rehearsal designed to enable you to have the maximum exposure and contact behind the scenes. And of course we bring one of the world’s great choirs who will be singing some of the finest choral music ever written. Here are a few of our programs – Here – Here – Here
If you live in North Carolina, Washington DC, New York, Boston or Toronto – we are going to bring all of this to you in late March and early April.
Before we arrive Tom King, our brilliant web master, videographer and I will do our best to introduce the choir to you. We will post videos of all the participants – the boys, the men singers, organists, the place, the music, the history – we plan to bring as much of the humanity of this great body to you. As I write these words the irony of what I say leaps out. For here is a choir that is 500 years old, formed at the time of Henry VIII, using Social Media to help you find out more about us.
I have myself many stories about my own love of this kind of music. I too was a Boy Chorister – not at Christ Church I regret. But Tom was a chorister. There is something about singing in a choir that is life enhancing. So that we can tell these stories to each other and learn more about how to attend and how to help persuade your friends to join you – Tom and I have set up a FaceBook Group here as well.
Welcome to this special world that is the Christ Church Choir. Tom and I look forward to getting to know you.