Charles Collins writes:
I joined the cathedral choir in my 1st year as a chemistry student after hearing about it from a friend who was a scholar at the Cathedral. I auditioned and, after having been offered a choral scholarship, was at once warmly welcomed by the choir. Singing at the cathedral provided me with incredible opportunities to further my singing career, including workshops with accomplished singing teachers and professional vocalists, whilst the inclusion of subsidised singing lessons provided me with indispensable one-to-one tuition. Another fantastic opportunity was an unforgettable and thoroughly enjoyable tour to Barcelona, singing in breathtaking locations including Girona Cathedral and the Sagrada Familia.
On a week to week basis, the rapid rotation of music and the singing of regular services vastly improved my sight reading as well as expanding my knowledge of, and increasing my appreciation for, a wide range of choral music. Above all though, I am eternally grateful for the friends I have made. I have had the opportunity to develop on a personal level as well as a musician, thanks to the people of the choir and the strong, shared sense of camaraderie, which is evidenced by the strong alumni involvement.
I would heartily encourage any prospective student who has had some previous experience of choral singing to audition for this choir, there is so much to get out of it.
Charles Collins joined the Cathedral Choir as a Choral Scholar in May 2013. He graduated in July 2016 from the University of Nottingham with a 2:1 MSc in Chemistry. He is pictured above with our other departing Choral Scholars who graduated from with BA (Hons) in Music - Emma Kennedy (2:1) and Emma Hawkins (1st Class).
Dr Lisa MacKenzie, our first Choral Scholar, joined some of the Cathedral Choir on their recent tour to Barcelona. Here Lisa describes what they got up to...
In July a group of singers from the Cathedral Choir (past and present, young and slightly more mature!) went on tour to Barcelona, representing St Barnabas at a range of splendid venues around this beautiful city.
We started our week by singing during Mass at Barcelona Cathedral, where we received a very warm welcome from the clergy and congregation alike, with some younger members even queuing to have
photographs taken with choir members afterwards.
Girona Cathedral provided us with an amazing acoustic, Sagrada Familia was an incredible building which I cannot even attempt to describe, and Montserrat Abbey was as ornate as it was spiritual - hopefully our performance in the Basilica, including music by Casals, originally written for their choir, added to the atmosphere for the hundreds of people who were visiting this special place of pilgrimage.
We sang some old favourites including pieces by Tallis, Lassus and Bruckner as well as one of Alex's own compositions and also tackled some new and challenging music. Górecki's Totus Tuus was very well received at every performance, along with the hauntingly beautiful Mother of God, here I stand by Tavener which seemed to touch people of all nationalities whether they understood the English words or not!
Between masses and concerts, we were also able to fit in lots of sightseeing. Performing at several of the key attractions got us off to a great start and we enjoyed tours of Barcelona Cathedral and Sagrada Familia as well as exploring the rest of the city and sampling some delicious Catalan cuisine. We visited Park Güell, learnt all about Cava at a local vineyard and even squeezed in a relaxing afternoon on the beach, all whilst eating lots of ice cream!
This very talented group of singers did a fabulous job representing the Cathedral and it was a real privilege to sing with them again – thank you to Alex, Leah and everyone else who put in so much hard work behind the scenes!