The Cundall Manor School Chamber Choir made history last week when they sang Evensong at Keble College, Oxford.
This was a first in many ways: most notably, it was the first time Cundall Manor’s choir have been invited to sing within the hallowed setting of a university college; it was also the first time the choir had been invited to perform alongside the highly regarded Stowe School Choir.
Cundall Manor Chamber Choir has been attending the Stowe Choral Festival for the last 12 years where they have always made a tremendous impression and been singled out for particular praise. As a result, the choir received a special invitation from the Director of Music at Stowe to go and work exclusively with their choir and sing at an Oxford College.
Cundall Manor’s own Director of Music, Mrs Wendy Ford, was honoured to accept the invitation:
To be invited to join Stowe Choir and sing at Keble College was an enormous privilege and one which very few children ever have the opportunity to do. It was an amazing experience for our choristers, singing some of our country’s finest choral music in such a fine setting.
Mrs Ford shared their host’s admiration for the young choir’s performance on the day:
The music was quite challenging for the choir, as some of them are still really very young, and it took them out of their comfort zone, but their confidence increased greatly during the combined rehearsals at Stowe School and later in Keble College Chapel, culminating in a strong and wonderful performance during the service.
The setting for the performance was Keble College’s renown 19th Century chapel, and the large congregation was made up not only of fellows of the college and visiting parents from both schools, but also local people and many foreign tourists who were looking for special events taking place in the city that day.
Mrs Ford summed up the significance of the event to the young performers:
This was a truly amazing and special experience. Well done to all of our choristers on their hard work and wonderful achievement. It is a precious memory which will remain with them for the rest of their lives.