This is a beginning of Easter Term at Trinity unlike any other we have known. We’ve adapted our activities to make them accessible to all those working and studying from home, wherever they find themselves in the world. You can find out more about our Choir and Chapel plans below.
In January, the Choir went on a whirlwind trip to Berlin and here you can read about what made the visit so special. College Librarian Nicolas Bell has kindly shared a tribute to former Director of Music, Raymond Leppard. As always, there’s news about forthcoming gatherings and events. Please keep an eye out for updates from the Alumni Office about these, as, given the current circumstances, they may be subject to change.
We hope you enjoy reading this Newsletter and send you our very best wishes for the coming months. Please do get in touch if there is anything you would like to see included in forthcoming editions.
The Chapel and Music team is slowly getting used to the ‘new normal’ although, like everyone, we hope it won’t be the norm for too long.
It’s an especially challenging time for the Chaplains, as their natural way of working and providing pastoral support is the exact opposite of social distancing. We’ve put together a virtual Chapel Card for Easter term, with an exciting programme of online events, including mindfulness sessions, stimulating and thought-provoking talks by guest speakers, a book club, and virtual poetry readings.
Although we can’t gather in Chapel, services will continue in Easter term. The Chaplains will lead Morning and Evening Prayer via Zoom. As we have been webcasting for a number of years, we’re fortunate to have a wealth of pre-recorded music, which we will use to create a weekly Choral Evensong to be webcast on Sundays. These services will be led by our Chaplains with readings from current members of the College community and a ‘Thought for the Day’ from a guest speaker.
Towards the end of March, the Choir joined in on Zoom for a test Compline service. It was great fun, and a lovely opportunity to see everyone, but only proved that it isn’t going to be possible to recreate the ambience of this particular service online, not least as virtual Trinity Cheese Straws just don’t taste as good! In its stead, TCMS have been busy putting together a virtual series of Nachtmusik, which will be followed by a short reflection from one of our Chaplains.
Like everyone else, we’re unsure of when we’ll be able to resume normal life, and so are waiting to see how the situation develops before confirming whether we will be able to go forward with our tour to the south-west of England in the summer months. Whatever happens, we very much hope to bring TCC of 2019-2020 back to sing together at some point in the, we hope, not too distant future.
TCC in Berlin
In January, the Choir travelled to Berlin to celebrate a very special anniversary. The Choir sang with the Sirventes Choir and their director, Stefan Schuck, in Kirche Am Hohenzollerplatz, performing as part of a festival marking the 500th ‘Noonsong’ – a midday, German-language Evensong.
The idea for the service was first planted twelve years ago when Stefan visited Trinity College Choir and Richard Marlow in Cambridge.
The service was broadcast live on YouTube, and is available to watch here.
TCCA London drinks
It was wonderful to see so many of you at the drinks gathering in February, and to see a range of TCCA vintages! The evening provided a fantastic opportunity to catch up with friends and make some new ones, and proved an excellent tonic on a wet February evening. Be sure to check the TCCA website for announcements about future meet-ups. Our warm thanks to Rachel Sweet in Alumni Relations for organising this event.
Raymond Leppard (1927-2019)
Raymond Leppard came up to Trinity College in 1948 with a choral scholarship, after National Service in the RAF. He was one of the first undergraduates to study for the Music Tripos, which had been instituted only a year earlier under the direction of Hubert Middleton, the Director of Music at Trinity. After obtaining first-class honours, he remained in Cambridge to undertake research for a couple of years before moving to London. He quickly became a major figure in the musical life of the capital, establishing the ensemble which would later become the English Chamber Orchestra.
In 1958, following Middleton’s retirement, he was invited to return to Cambridge as University Lecturer in Music and as Fellow and Director of Music at Trinity. The following decade was a time of great prosperity both for Leppard himself and for the musical life of Cambridge: the College Choir had recently dispensed with boys and developed very successfully as a group of men’s voices under his guidance, while his combination of painstaking archival research with a passionate interest in music of many periods made him an interesting and inspiring lecturer to a generation of music students. This was the period in which Leppard first brought his performances of the Monteverdi and Cavalli operas to the stage, and it was a formidable achievement to combine a busy life as a Cambridge don with so many major productions in London, Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne and elsewhere.
By 1967 the workload had become too great, and he was obliged to resign his Fellowship and spend more time in London. In 1976 he moved to New York before settling in Indianapolis in 1987 as Music Director of the Indianopolis Symphony. He remained there for the rest of his life, but returned regularly to the UK, where his affection for Cambridge and especially for Trinity remained undimmed.
Nicolas Bell, Librarian
Annual Gatherings 2020
Annual Gatherings on Saturday 11 July (1996, 1997, 1998) and Wednesday 15 July (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971)
Due to current circumstances, we are sorry that the Annual Gatherings scheduled to take place on Saturday 11 July and Wednesday 15 July have been postponed.
Those registered for either of these Gatherings will be contacted by the Alumni Relations and Development Office and notified when replacement dates are confirmed.
Annual Gathering on Saturday 12 September (2008, 2009, 2010)
We’re very much hoping that the Annual Gathering on Saturday 12 September will take place. If you matriculated in 2008, 2009 or 2010 and would like to sing in the choir for this Gathering, you can note this as you register for the Gathering via the Alumni Relations office by clicking ‘Alumni who wish to sing in the choir’. To register, click here.
Given the limited number of spaces available, it may be that we aren’t able to accommodate alumni singers who did not matriculate in 2008, 2009 or 2010. If you did not matriculate in these years but would like to sing if there is available space, please e-mail Eleanor Lancelot, listing your voice part.
In light of the current situation, please do look out for updates about events from the Alumni Relations and Development Office.
Alumni Carol Service
The Alumni Carol Service is always a special event and 2019’s was no exception! Our thanks goes to Mike Waldron for directing, former organ scholar Alexander Hamilton for playing and Tom Dupernex for organising the Choir.
This year’s Alumni Carol Service will take place at 7.30pm on Monday 7 December 2020 in Temple Church. For more information and booking (when this opens later in the year) please click.
We hope to see you there!
Dates for your diary
Annual Gathering (2008, 2009, 2010)
Saturday 12 September 2020, from 2.00pm
For information about the Annual Gathering, please click.
Alumni Carol Service
Monday 7 December 2020, 7.30pm
Temple Church, London
For updates about the Alumni Carol Service, please check.