Shrewsbury School

Chapel Choir evensong in Keble College, Oxford

Wednesday 4 October 2017

The dreaming spires once again played host to Shrewsbury School’s Chapel Choir last week, the venue this time Butterfield’s Byzantine Gothic masterpiece, Keble College Chapel.

As the choristers formed up in the quad for the procession, the blustery and wet conditions did nothing to dampen – other than literally – the enthusiasm and anticipation of the Choir, who earlier in the afternoon had been spellbound by the atmosphere and limpid acoustic of this fairy tale chapel.

Its numbers increasing in proportion with the School’s population, the choir of nearly 80 overflowed its banks and spilled out of the choir stalls, producing a sound to match.

The high points of the service were surely Herbert Howells’ Collegium Regale, justly a cathedral choir favourite, with the tenor solo at the start of the Nunc Dimittis exquisitely sung by Ngo Hin Cheng (O LVI) and, later on in the service, the ethereal Lord Of Wisdom by W. Todd, a showcase for the girls’ voices.

The canticles and prayers were intoned in rock steady tenor by ex-Winchester Cathedral chorister Henry Cramsie (SH LVI) (who had, unknown to the conductor, subcontracted one of the prayers to his neighbour, Will Hope (Ch LVI)).

The hymn ‘How shall I sing the majesty/Which angels do admire?’ finished off the service, the words equally appropriate to the setting, music and Choir.

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