We hope you enjoy browsing this Autumn newsletter, which includes information about the Choir’s latest release of music by Gerald Finzi and the forthcoming Alumni Carol Service, which will again take place at Temple Church, London.
This edition also includes excerpts from the Choir’s tour blog, written as they travelled through Europe in July of this year, and a piece by Choir alumna Kate Apley and the newest member of the TCCA Committee, Ellie Tobin, who share with us how the current Choir and TCCA joined in with the College-wide celebrations marking 40 years of female undergraduates at the College.
We’re always interested to hear what you would like to see in these newsletters – if you have any suggestions, please do get in touch.
- Latest CD release: Choral works by Gerald Finzi
- Women at Trinity: celebrating 40 years of female undergraduates
- 2019 Annual Gatherings
- Tour blog, Europe 2019: journeying to Ischia, Luxembourg and Cologne
- Trinity Alumni Carol Service 2019
- Meet the committee: say hello to our newest member, Ellie Tobin
- Dates for your diary
- Stay in touch
Latest CD release
Our latest recording, Choral Works by Gerald Finzi, was released in August. The recording features choral favourites including God is gone up and Lo, the full, final sacrifice, as well as unaccompanied songs including Finzi’s settings of seven poems by Robert Bridges. The album also includes a Nunc dimittis by David Bednall, a companion piece to Finzi’s Magnificat, which was written for non-liturgical use.
The recording has received glowing reviews. Gramophone chose it as one of their September CDs of the month and said it was a ‘beautifully crafted disc’ which shows ‘Trinity at their absolute best’. Classical Source gave the recording five stars, stating that they ‘cannot imagine performances better than these.’
The recording’s cover art features stained glass designed by renowned artist Thomas Denny. These windows from Gloucester Cathedral commemorate Finzi, and sit alongside windows which remember poet-composer Ivor Gurney, whom Finzi revered. Talking about the connection between stained glass and music, Denny says: ‘I think that one can experience stained-glass as song, the abstract or musical qualities of colour, light, rhythm, movement, re-iteration being then further developed by narrative, by descriptive details and the depiction of things.’
The accompanied pieces in this album were recorded in Hereford Cathedral which also houses stained glass by Denny, this time celebrating the life of 16th century English priest and poet Thomas Traherne. Traherne is best-known for his series of short sayings Centuries of Meditations, but musicians might know him as the author of Dies Natalis, which was set to music by Finzi.
Celebrating 40 years of female undergraduates at Trinity
On 29 April 2019, the College held an event that formed the culmination of celebrations of 40 years of women at Trinity, and the women of the current Choir and the TCCA were thrilled to play a part in the day. Alumnae Kate Apley and Ellie Tobin collaborated with the College to commission a new choral work by composer Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, who has worked with the Choir, to mark the contribution of women to the College. Joanna wrote a fantastic SSAA close-harmony piece, with lyrics acknowledging the many women who have played a part in the history of the College. The title, A place for us maids, is a play on the words of the banner which was displayed in 1897 by those who successfully voted against the motion to allow women to obtain Cambridge degrees equivalent to those offered to their male counterparts. On the day of the event, the song was performed at the close of the welcome speeches to rousing applause, including from the Master-elect, Professor Dame Sally Davies, who had not expected to be mentioned in the song!
Later in the day, Kate and Ellie held a workshop teaching another of Joanna’s songs, Twenty-first-century woman, to guests of the event. The song was released as a single on International Women’s Day 2019 as the first recording session at Abbey Road Studios which was written, conducted, sung, played, engineered, produced, mixed and mastered entirely by women. You can watch the video of the official recording here. All proceeds of the single go to the charity Her Future Coalition. For more information about the charity, please . A number of TCC and TCCA took part in the workshop, alongside other guests, and the workshop finished with a performance in Hall other attendees. It was wonderful to see members of the College community – staff, students and Fellows – all singing enthusiastically about what it means to be a twenty-first-century woman!
Written by Choir alumnae Kate Apley (2014) and Ellie Tobin (2014)
2019 Annual Gatherings
It was great to see some familiar faces last in College as Choir alumni formed the choirs for this year’s Annual Gatherings.
The first choir included alumni attending their own Annual Gathering for matriculation years 1987, 1988 and 1989. Evensong for the Annual Gathering for those who matriculated in 1962, 1963 and 1964 was sung by recent Choir alumni.
Thank you to all who came to sing at these events, and especially to our directors and organists, all of whom are former Trinity organ scholars: James Morgan (1988), Richard Pearce (1987), Michael Waldron (2006) and Jeremy Cole (2010).
Choir tour to Europe, July 2019
This article is made up of extracts taken from the Choir’s tour blog, Europe 2019:
The first tour of this summer took us to Europe: Ischia, an island of the western Italian coast, Luxembourg, and Cologne. The tour was, for us, short (six nights away) and very sweet – we could hardly believe our luck when we arrived in the stunning Giardini La Mortella, the home of Sir William and Lady Susana Walton. The magnificent subtropical gardens, created by Lady Walton from 1956, are replete with an amphitheatre, and makes for a stunning concert venue. There we performed our River Concert programme, and the jazzier arrangements of the second half were warmly received.
Due to the heat, it wasn’t possible to rehearse until the evenings, and so we had almost two full days to explore Ischia (although many of us were tempted to remain by La Mortella’s pool with a good book and the flamingo inflatable one of well-prepared altos had stashed in her suitcase). The more adventurous joined soprano Susie Hill for a walking tour of the island. They returned a little more red-faced and hungry than when they had set off, but the pay-off had been some spectacular views over the volcanic island. Our Chaplain, Dana English, led a wonderful and highly informative tour of Castello Aragonese, a medieval fortification connected to the island by causeway. We could think of no better way to enjoy the Italian summertime than to eat a lunch of bruschetta and insalata caprese on the Castello’s terrace with a view over the sparkling Gulf of Naples, followed by a dip in the sea and a trip to the gelateria!
The day after our concert in Ischia, we headed to Luxembourg to give a concert in a series celebrating 175 years since the founding of Luxembourg Cathedral Choir. After a day of travel, we were glad of a free morning to explore the city. Popular activities included eschewing walking in favour of electric bikes, eating (more) ice cream, shopping in the flea market and visiting the Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art.
During the afternoon, we rehearsed this year’s tour programme (which includes music by Byrd, Tallis, Kalinnikov, Mäntyjärvi and Howells) in the beautiful Cathédrale Notre-Dame. After a really enjoyable concert, we were kindly invited to a reception at the British Ambassador to Luxembourg’s residence. It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet members of the audience, many of whom were part of the Cathedral Choir, as well as to admire the view over the city’s old fortress walls.
We spent the final days of the tour in Cologne, where we performed in St Pantaleon’s Church. On arrival, Cologne Pride was in full swing, making it an exciting and busy time to explore the city. Some us had visited Cologne during our 2018 tour to Germany, so it was nice to revisit some favourite spots, including the magnificent cathedral.
On our final morning, we sang at a conducting masterclass given by Stephen Layton for students of the local conservatoire. It was a great learning opportunity for us all, and it was interesting to see the different interpretations of the music we had been touring. That afternoon, we returned to the UK for a summer break. Some rest and relaxation was in order before we headed back out on the road (or air) for our September tour of the USA! More on this in the next Newsletter!
Trinity Alumni Carol Service 2019
If you’re singing regularly and would like to sing in the choir for this year’s Alumni Carol Service, please get in touch with Tom Dupernex ([email protected]), giving your voice part.
There will be a rehearsal at Temple Church on Monday 25 November from 7.00pm. As in past years, drinks and nibbles will be provided by the TCCA after the rehearsal.
The service will take place on Monday 2 December at 7.30pm at Temple Church. This will be preceded by a rehearsal at 6.00pm on the day (for those who are able to make it for that time). Refreshments at the reception on the night are free to those singing.
Please do publicise this event among any other Choir alumni with whom you’re still in touch. If you would like to bring a guest, please encourage them toearly if they would like to attend.
Meet the committee: say hello to our newest member, Ellie Tobin
Ellie Tobin joined the TCCA committee this year. Here, we spend a little time getting to know her and finding out what she’s most looking forward to about being involved in the TCCA:
Why did you join Trinity Choir?
I joined Trinity Choir because I fell in love with choral music when I was about 16 (very late in comparison to many of my peers) but I wanted the chance to sing Evensong regularly and to be able to immerse myself in a high standard of music-making. It’s safe to say TCC went above and beyond that expectation!
What did you most enjoy about your time at Cambridge?
The people: Cambridge is a unique place and you meet such interesting people from so many walks of life. Conversations with friends over dinner in hall could be on literally any topic; choral music, politics, history, celebrity gossip, reality TV (sometimes we talked about our degrees!)… You name it, we covered it!
What have you been up to since you graduated?
I only graduated in June 2018, but it’s been a busy time! I now work as a Joint Commissioning Manager for a London Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group managing contracts and commissioning health and social care services for children. It’s busy but I love it!
What aspect of being on the TCCA Committee are you most excited about?
Anyone who knows me knows I love a social event. I would love to be able to coordinate the meeting up of friends who don’t get to see each other very often anymore!
What does music mean to you?
Music means so much to me for different reasons. Not only is it an escape from things when life can feel busy or overwhelming, but it’s an opportunity to share an experience with friends and create something amazing. It’s incredible how much music can evoke memory and transport you to a different moment. I know that music will always be a part of my life one way or another; if not performing, then enjoying listening to others!
Dates for your diary
Trinity College Alumni Carol Service
Monday 2 December 2019, 7.30pm
Temple Church, London
For updates about the Alumni Carol Service, please check.