The primary aim of the music ministry is to complement and enrich the liturgy, to raise hearts and minds to God, and to give us a foretaste of the joyful company of heaven. (Mark Langham, 1960-2021)
The choirs of Fisher House provide music for a sung Mass in Latin on Saturday evening and a sung Mass in English on Sunday morning. Over the last four terms, times of restricted activities have been intermixed with periods of quiet. Perhaps the biggest impact of the pandemic has been missing the opportunity to properly meet our musical freshers. We very much look forward to meeting more singers in October when we will look to expand both the Schola Cantorum and the Chapel Choir.
As well as providing music for the weekend services, the choirs are involved in various events throughout the year, from providing a full sung service for the Fisher Mass to singing grace at the annual Fisher Dinner. Participation also offers opportunities for individuals to flourish both musically and personally within the circle of fellowship that embraces both choirs. The choirs come together socially every term to share a meal and sing old English catches. We are always looking to welcome new members, including instrumentalists during the holiday period. We seek to inspire our congregation with a blend of the familiar and the novel and remain ever open to musical requests or suggestions.
Choral and organ scholarships at Fisher House are supported by an endowment from Monsignor Gilbey (chaplain 1932-1965). There are eight Gilbey choral scholarships available across the Schola Cantorum and Chapel Choir, and two Gilbey organ scholarships. The posts of Director of the Chapel Choir and Director of the Schola Cantorum are also funded by the Gilbey endowment. Further information- Gilbey Music Scholarships.
The Schola Cantorum provides the music for the sung Mass in Latin at the 6pm Saturday vigil Mass. The Schola is a stimulating, committed, and friendly environment, seeking to enhance the liturgy and worship of the Fisher House community through music. Every week we sing the Ordinary parts of the Mass, the plainchant Propers of the day and a motet, exploring varied repertory from the Gregorian, Renaissance and more modern traditions. Rehearsals are on Monday evenings, and the Schola occasionally joins forces with the English Mass Choir for events such as the yearly Fisher Mass or termly choir dinners. The Schola is open and inclusive, with a broad mixture of people of different levels of study, areas of study, faiths, and nationalities.
Further explore the music of the Mass in Latin on the Schola’s YouTube channel.
Ave Verum Corpus, William Byrd (1538-1623), recorded by the Schola in Fisher House Chapel, October 2018
Kyrie, Missa Bervis, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525-1594), recorded by the Schola in Fisher House Chapel, January 2019
The 11am English Mass at Fisher House on Sunday is one of the central parts of life at the Chaplaincy, and the primary goal of the choir is to enrich this worship. The mixed-voice choir sings during full term, and provides varied music to compliment the Mass. The choir is directed by Chris Hamilton, and accompanied by Philip Beer, our organist. Chris is always looking to expand the choir, so please do get in touch with him (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in singing! Rehearsals take place on Sundays at 10am in the library at Fisher House.
Out of term, an active band of singers and players combine elements of the Latin and English services with sacred works from the Baroque era. The presence in our congregation of exceptional soloists and instrumentalists has grown this aspect of the ministry over the last year.
If you are a singer or an instrumentalist (playing at 415 or 440) and are interested in joining, please get in touch with the Philip Beer at email@example.com.
Ave Maris Stella, Vesperæ in Festis Beatæ Mariæ Virginis, Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643)
Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer (BWV 249), JS Bach (1685-1750)
Laudamus te (RV 589), Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
The Fisher House organ is a Johannus opus 5, an electronic instrument with 19 ranks across two manuals, with an option of romantic or baroque voicing. The organ is a bequest from Jeremy Howe (1929-2016), a former CUCA treasurer and life-long supporter of Fisher House. Jeremy, who also selected the specification for the organ, was an accomplished musician and, as a former choral scholar at King’s and John’s, well-versed in the musical tradition of the Church.
Litanies, Jehan Alain (1911-1940). “When the distressed Christian soul can no longer find new words to implore God’s mercy, it repeats unceasingly the same invocation in vehement faith. The reason reaches its limits. Only faith continues to rise.”