Choir and Music

Music plays an important role in the life of Oriel Chapel. Besides being central to our worship, it also contributes to the friendly social atmosphere.

Oriel College Chapel Choir sings two major services each week in term: Choral Evensong on Sundays at 6pm and Choral Eucharist on Thursdays at 6pm. It also sings at special services during the academic year and goes on tour each summer. Recent tours have been to Malta, Portugal, and Poland.

The Choir’s repertoire of sacred music ranges from the 16th to the 21st centuries. It is an excellent mixed-voice choir with about 30 members, eight of whom are Choral Scholars. While most of its members are from Oriel, people from other colleges are always very welcome to audition. For more information about the Choir and their activities, contact the Director of Music

If you are interested in applying for an Organ or Choral Scholarship, please read the information below. Scholarship auditions take place each year in September.

Organ Recital Series, Hilary Term 2017

This year's Organ Recital Series will take place in weeks four, five and seven of Hilary Term. The College is delighted to welcome guest organists Paul Derrett, Matthew Morley and violinist William Davidson to perform in the Chapel before Sunday Evensong. Find out more about the series here.

Scholarships

The College offers two Organ Scholarships and eight Choral Scholarships. Organ Scholars at Oriel may read for most but not all degree subjects offered at the College. The Faculty of Music holds annual open days, usually in April each year - more details are available on the Faculty of Music website.

For further information and to download an application form, visit the Faculty of Music website. There are also places in the Choir by audition for those who are not Scholars.

Choral Scholarships

Choral Scholars form the nucleus of the Choir and are expected to take a leadership role in its smooth operation. The College offers two to three Choral Scholarships each year to intending undergraduate applicants. Choral Scholars may read for any degree subject offered by the College. Scholarships are awarded solely on the basis of vocal merit, but are subject to academic admittance. In addition to Scholar status and a stipend, they receive regular individual and group voice lessons.

Organ Scholarships

The Organ Scholars are undergraduate members of the College. They are responsible for playing at Chapel services, taking rehearsals and assisting the Director of Music with the running of the Choir. They are also expected to play at additional services such as weddings, memorial services and ‘gaudies’ (meetings of old College members), which often occur outside of full term. In addition to Scholar status, they receive a stipend, on-site accommodation, and regular organ and conducting lessons. 

Please note that Oriel only accepts Organ Scholars for the following subjects:

The Oriel College Organ

History

The Chapel organ was built in 1988 by J.W.Walker and Sons, Ltd through the munificence of Norma, Lady Dalrymple-Champneys. It has 19 speaking stops divided between two manuals and pedals; the action is mechanical. Reflecting the spirit of the eighteenth-century English organ in its design, voicing and tuning, it is very much at home in Baroque music. Nonetheless, it is well able to meet the eclectic demands that are made of it, acquitting itself with distinction also in repertory of more recent times, whether in solo or when accompanying the Choir. The elegant case in which it is housed was originally designed for the Schreider organ of 1716 in St Mary Abbotts Kensington.

Find out more about the specification of the Oriel College Organ.