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Thoughts Like Music
...original soundtrack not available...you'll thank us...
Chapel Choir: First Impressions 
23rd-Sep-2007 09:18 pm
music
My mood has been 'busy' so much lately. I need a 'super-duper busy' mood, I fear.

This morning at 9:45 I went to the first of my Sundays with the chapel choir.

I turned up on time and we got a short lecture on the starting of the college and the history of the choir.

I'd known previously that Bishop Elphinstone was the one to start the college with a papal decree.
What I didn't know was that from the beginning, there were members of the college that were simply there to sing the rounds (Compline, Matins, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, and Vespers). They were paid as well.

When the Reformation came to Scotland, the chapel declined as a worship site until it was used as a library and as an occasional meeting place for the Senatus Academicus for the uni.

In the 1850s, it was refurbished extensively and in 1891 there is the first mention of a reforming of the chapel choir.
By 1906, the choir started wearing robes, the same colours as today: purple with gold piping.
Until the 1960s, the choir stood in the balcony, where the organ stands today. There were a few temporary choir spots in the chapel and in the late 1970s the final spot, just in front of the rood screen, was chosen.

After all this history, we went through the music for the day: 2 anthems, 4 hymns, a choral benediction, and a dismissal.

The hymns were new to me except the last, 'All My Hope On God Is Founded'. Easy enough to read on sight.
The first anthem was from a book of Tudor anthems in the Oxford series edited by David Willcocks. The second was a modified plainchant.
The benediction was copied and didn't have a author or title.
The dismissal was handwritten, I believe the choirmaster composed it.

We were led into the chapel by a man that I assume is the university marshall. He wore a blue cloak with the university coat of arms and a tri-corner hat as well as carrying a ceremonial mace.

For only 45 minutes of practice (we arrived an hour a half ahead but the history and robe assignments cut down actual practice) we did pretty well, I thought.

After the service, there was coffee and bagels and biscuits. Good to know, because I prefer to sing on an empty stomach, but I'd be starving if I had to wait to go home.

This is one of those times when I'm absolutely gobsmacked to be not only studying in Scotland, but also to be part of an academic tradition going back more than 500 years.
comments 
23rd-Sep-2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think it would be hard for me to have no sleep in weekend days. Though I don't sleep in as much as I used to.

In the future you will have more practice?
23rd-Sep-2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
Yup, we'll have Tuesday night practice as well.

I'm actually glad for a reason to get up. Sleeping more than 9 hours makes me feel ill now. Which sucks, cause I loved sleeping in before. Now I just stay in bed, but awake. :)
23rd-Sep-2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Everything is so interesting!
I can imagine how great it is for you; especially if you enjoy singing =)
23rd-Sep-2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
Ah, I miss choir singing... though we used to get three hours of rehearsal at college. But that was for an evening service. 45 minutes seems a bit scanty!

(Now I'm wondering if the chaplain is the same as when my old schoolfriend was at Aberdeen a few years ago - I heard a good deal about her because my friend was quite involved with the chapel, but I don't remember her name.)
23rd-Sep-2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
We're meant to have practice on Tuesday evenings as well, luckily. They didn't audition people until Thursday and Friday of last week, so we didn't get the fore-Tuesday this time.

The chaplains first name is Easter. I think her surname is Smart, but I might be making that up. Sound familiar?
24th-Sep-2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
Yes! Yes, it does sound very familiar.
23rd-Sep-2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
hey I forgot to mention congrats for getting in :)

thats really exciting, and sounds fun. lack of sleep sucks, but it's always nice when you know you're lacking the sleep in order to be a part of something great.
24th-Sep-2007 08:11 am (UTC)
Fascinating.. Sounds excellent

I now have "All my hope on God is founded" in my head. Which is not necessarily a bad thing...
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