College – Issue 31

MUSIC DEPARTMENT Strong musical traditions at College

A walk past the Music School taking in the sounds of a myriad of different instruments coming from the rooms, standing outside the Chapel at Congers and thrilling to the sound of male voices thundering out a favourite hymn underlines the long history and vital part that music has in the web of College life.

From left: Nicholas Sutcliffe, Robert Aburn, Nolan Hungerford, Claire Oliver and Nick Coxon

Director of Music Robert Aburn says the choral programme has a long-standing tradition. “When the school was first established, singing was one of the core activities,’’ he says. “There was no music curriculum as such. It replicated the British model where singing was just part of what was done. College’s foundation was built on a strong choral tradition and, as soon as enough boys enrolled, the formation of the Chapel Choir was a strong statement to the College community that Chapel and singing were a core part of College life.’’ Fast-forward over 150 years and the Chapel Choir, which sings at all Chapel services, is recognised

as one of the top secondary school choirs in the country and has toured overseas singing in such prestigious venues as St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. “The Chapel choir of around 70 is a platform to develop the boys’ choral skills. We are unique in New Zealand to have a religious worship programme and the Chapel Choir leads the Choral Evensong and regular mass services. These are traditions that have moved forward with the school and provide links to the community,” says Robert. As well as the Chapel Choir, opportunities for boys to further develop their choral musical skills are provided by Schola Cantorum and Collegium.

Schola Cantorum is a specialist group of singers who present a cappella repertoire with material that is harmonically and musically challenging to both performer and audience. Under the direction of Nicholas Sutcliffe, the choir focuses on a tight blend of sound. “We want to give some of the boys the opportunity for a more adventurous repertoire, doing more challenging, smaller ensemble work so they can have the experience of singing more difficult music in an exposed context,’’ Nicholas says. Schola Cantorum has been selected to perform at the 2016 National Finale of the Big Sing. The choir will compete against 23 other school choirs in August. Regional


Christ’s College Canterbury

Made with FlippingBook Ebook Creator