MEET THE CHOIR
Read below to find out about some of the members of the choir. At the bottom of this page, you can enjoy some quick-fire questions with the choral scholars.
Lucy Mitten - Soprano
Hi, I’m Lucy! I’ve loved music from the young age of 8 years old when I sang in a little community choir. At 12, I became a chorister at Truro Cathedral for 5 years, where I really fell under choral music’s spell and I am now in my second year as a Choral Scholar at Royal Holloway, studying Music and English BA Joint Honours.
Of course, the university itself is a beautiful place, it has everything I could ever need and more! My Joint Honours degree is well taught, balanced and engaging. But what most enticed me to Royal Holloway, was the fabulous choir. My chorister experiences at Truro Cathedral prepared me well for the Choral Scholarship, where we sing evensong weekly and rehearse several times a week, as well as other services of compline and evening prayer. I love singing these services, but our Wednesday lunchtime concerts are my favourite part of the week! I really enjoy the experience of performing to a live audience in the chapel. Moreover, as a choir we explore a variety of different repertoire and every week there is destined to be at least one piece that is new to me! We work fast as a choir, exploring new music all the time, creating a really rewarding and refreshing feel.
Some of my highlights so far are our regular CD recordings and BBC Broadcasts. In addition, our various performances in beautiful spaces such as the Cadogan Hall, St George’s Bristol and St Bartholomew the Great. My favourite memory from my 1st year was our extraordinary tour all over France, where we performed concerts every night in different venues! It was an incredible experience which made me feel so grateful to be part of the choir family and to have such amazing performance opportunities. Furthermore, I relish the opportunity to perform in smaller ensembles. The experience of having to take full responsibility for my musical line is an extremely stretching and rewarding feeling. We also get to explore different musical styles within these ensembles which is super fun. I’ve particularly loved delving into close mic jazz numbers in various concerts! Something I really appreciate about our choir is the strong sense of belonging. We get on well and I feel that I have made friends for life.
I value how the choir compliments both sides of my Joint Honours degree. We are always reminded of the importance of text when singing and how it can truly bring a piece of music to life. As well as choir commitments, I enjoy being part of the English Society and Raven’s Opera society. Whilst balancing workloads can be tough at times, I believe the experiences compliment and deepen my degree achievements. My advice to anyone reading this is… - apply! We are always learning and developing, and as a Choral Scholar here at Royal Holloway you will be given a fabulous opportunity to become the best musician you possibly can be.
Joseph Morris - TENOR
Hi, I'm Joseph! I am currently a Master of Music student at Royal Holloway, where I have been a Choral Scholar since September 2021, after successfully auditioning during my bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages (German and Italian). I have been a choral singer almost my entire life and became a founding member of Richard Cooke’s Canterbury Choral Society Youth Choir in 2007, and I was heavily involved in the life of the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys music department. I am now in my third and final year as a Choral Scholar at Royal Holloway.
There are multiple reasons why I chose to study here for both my undergraduate and master’s degrees. The beautiful campus and its verdant surroundings are one reason. The excellent music department, which was ranked 2nd in the UK in the Good University Guide 2024, is another, but in all honesty, what really swayed me to apply to Royal Holloway was the choir. I remember hearing the choir sing once and knew then that I had to get into this choir, no matter what.
I really enjoy the music that we sing for services with the choir, and there is no shortage of the classic liturgical choral pieces that everyone loves, but what really makes the choir special is the regular lunchtime concerts that we put on, which allow us to explore interesting repertoire, both secular and sacred. This is one of my favourite parts of this choir. I don’t think I can recall a single week where I haven’t been introduced to something that is either new to me or even to the entire choir. This doesn’t just give you great exposure to the wealth and diversity of choral music out there, but it keeps choir incredibly interesting and exciting. We work at a fast pace with lots of music and have an incredibly high standard to achieve week after week. It’s challenging, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun or rewarding if it wasn’t.
Being a member of the choir also provides many opportunities to sing in smaller ensembles and as a soloist, whether through arias in larger works that the choir is performing, such as Handel’s Messiah or J.S. Bach’s St John Passion, or one-off solo songs to complement a concert programme. Some memorable experiences at Royal Holloway for me are: singing and recording with the Britten Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia Voices for Thomas Adès’ performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony; recording Flemish composer Flor Peeters’ music at Buckfast Abbey (which happened within a week of me joining); featuring in the recording of Paul Mealor’s ‘A Welsh Prayer’ on Decca’s HM Queen Elizabeth II – The Commemorative Album; and recording the new Ola Gjelio DREAMWEAVER album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which was released on the 29th September.
If you want to be a part of this choir, just give it a go and audition. I met some of my best friends through this choir and the skills you gain whilst as a member will set you up for life in any career, not just in the music industry.
James Gooding - BASS
Hi! I’m James, from the age of 8 I was a chorister at Wells Cathedral and carried on my studies at Wells Cathedral School until I was 18 as part of their specialist music programme. I'm now in my final year at Royal Holloway University studying for a BMus in Music as well as being one of the Choral Scholars here!
Having gone to Wells for 10 years of my life, the experiences I gained both in the Cathedral Choir, but also school definitely prepared me for the intense work-load in the Chapel Choir. Having sung all the well-known choral settings in my younger years, it is always lovely when this repertoire reprises itself within our services in our gorgeous University Chapel, however it’s not just the classics we do here, the range of repertoire is absolutely immense! The opportunities I had at school aided my sight-reading which is very useful with the speedy turnover of pieces, ranging from madrigals, rather quirky 21st century music, and of course some brilliant jazzy arrangements!
One of the reasons I chose to come to Royal Holloway University is the incredible breadth of the Music degree. The course has something for everyone, whether you want to go into performance, composition, academia, music technology, or even conducting! Our professors are brilliant and are all very established in their own fields with their knowledge proving extensive! Yet, as amazing the music degree is, the main reason I came to RHUL is most certainly because of the choir. Having sung services almost every single day of the week from the ages of 8 - 13, the vast range of opportunities the choir here have to offer is rather refreshing! We have weekly liturgical services including Compline and Evensong, but also our Midweek Music Concert every Wednesday lunchtime which is the highlight of my week. With new repertoire every concert you never get bored! On top of this, the choir also records at least one album a year, with a cheeky BBC Radio 3 Broadcast here and there. One of my fondest memories so far, of which I will never forget, was the 2022 Summer tour to Southern France and Paris, it was incredible!
Alongside a Choral Scholar’s busy schedule, you can also find time to join other societies. This year I am the President of The Raven Opera Company. Holding workshops for our members every Friday plus organising and putting on concerts is a lot of work but also very rewarding. We have at least two concerts a term, and it is a chance for both Music and non-Music students alike to showcase their love for opera. We plan on performing John Blow’s ‘Venus and Adonis’ in our gorgeous Chapel which I am very much looking forward to!
All in all, I could not recommend joining the Royal Holloway Choir more! The memories and experiences you will gain are priceless and unforgettable and will prepare you for the professional world no matter what the future holds for you!
Luke Cherry - Organ SCHOLAR
I'm Luke, second year organ scholar at Royal Holloway. Being organ scholar is a privileged position to hold and compliments my music degree that I am undertaking.
Since I was never a chorister, the many of elements and structures of services were completely new to me. Although daunting at first, this is something that you will become accustomed to as you will fit into life of the choir very quickly. There are normally 3 services a week as well as one or two concerts throughout the week. For most, myself included, this will be a large step up from previous school or church commitments. Initially, this appears to be an insurmountable workload, but over time you will learn how to prepare effectively and to manage your time around your degree.
The resplendent college chapel is a one of the most impressive places to be able to play in and provides an exception space to practice in. The chapel organ is able to play most repertoire and is excellent for improvising on. The organ can be practised on at many times throughout the day and there are two other practice organs that can also be used.
During your time as organ scholar, you will be supported by Rupert and the rest of the Chapel Choir. I am thoroughly looking forward to what the next 3 years in the choir will bring.