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michaelwilson

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  1. Dónal McCann, organ scholar at King's College Cambridge, has been appointed Assistant Organist at New College, Oxford.
  2. Admission charges were common until the 20th century. They have long been a hot topic and have frequently been raised in parliament, especially in connection with Westminster Abbey where relatively high entrance charges were used to pay the choir: In 1823 "Mr. Hume... took occasion to complain of the extortions which continued to be practised at Westminster-abbey. He knew an individual, from the country, who had lately carried his family to view the monuments in that building, and had been charged in no less a sum than 8s. for admission. Such a practice was disgraceful to the country, and had, over and over again, been reprobated in that House. It was absurd to say that government had no power to interfere in the matter. Surely the king, who was at the head of the church, might interfere; and if his majesty had not full power to command, it was hardly probable that a recommendation from such a quarter would be neglected. The House was told of the impossibility of universal admission; but he saw no such impossibility. He could not understand why any class of the community should be excluded from viewing the works for which they had contributed to pay. At all events, if it was necessary to name some admission fee, to prevent the intrusion of idle individuals, the demand for entrance at St. Paul's was confined to a few pence, and why should not the charge at Westminster-abbey be placed upon the same footing". A return from the Dean & Chapter of Westminster Abbey to the House of Commons in relation to a debate three years later notes that: "As to the sums charged for the admission of each visitor to view the monuments....Before his Majesty's coronation in 1821, the whole sum permitted to be charged, was one shilling and eleven pence. But the guides had obtained additional gratuities from the visitors, and complaints were made against these exactions. All the above sums have been received by the minor Canons, and the gentlemen of the Choir; and divided among themselves, after portions allowed to the officers of the Choir; the Dean and Chapter neither interfering, nor knowing when the division was made. This grant was made to the Choir in the year 1697, on the condition that, receiving the benefits from the exhibition of the monuments, they should keep the monuments always clean."
  3. Funding a half-empty prep school from Cathedral visitor fees was certainly not a good position to be in prior to this pandemic. It seems they had a turnaround plan, but what is now proposed, i.e. educating the choristers at St Peter's, seems a more sustainable solution, especially as that school is the successor to the original 627 AD school for choristers, with the Minster Prep School being founded in 1903.
  4. It appears James Thomas is no longer at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, and Richard Cook is the Acting Director of Music. He may have retired but I've not seen this mentioned anywhere.
  5. Their Assistant Organist advert is out: https://isw.changeworknow.co.uk/new_college_oxford/vms/e/careers/positions/bnLVV002beuPWTyL-vU8xa
  6. In addition to Robert Quinney's sabbatical, their Assistant Organist departed at the end of last term, so I'm not sure you can infer anything about their vision by this term's temporary arrangements.
  7. Well this was fun, and interesting reading everyone else's responses. Opening Voluntary Voluntary in A - Blow Introit O sing unto the Lord - Purcell Responses Those ones by Matthew Martin I heard recently Office Hymn Any sung in plainsong by the choir, as is done at Ely Psalm Anything, sung properly and not rattled through. Canticles Service for Trebles - Weelkes 1 or 2 Anthems Two anthems? An offer I can’t refuse: See, see the Word is incarnate - Gibbons Vox Patris Caelestis - Mundy Two Further Hymns there's no time left Concluding Voluntary Voluntary in A minor - Tomkins It got me thinking what music one could choose for the longest and shortest possible evensongs. I suppose the expectation of a 45 minute weekday service has constrained choice in recent times at least.
  8. The ADoM at King's is indeed only responsible for King's Voices, and typically spends more time doing other outside work than conducting in the chapel or playing the organ there. As KCC have two organ scholars, they are normally responsible not just for playing the organ but for conducting services and taking rehearsals when the DoM is absent. Likewise at St John's down the road. The NCO arrangement mirrors their back row, only half of whom are choral scholars with the others being employed clerks, an arrangement which reduces turnover and provides greater experience.
  9. Sad, but sadly not unexpected.
  10. Is Mr Richford off to anywhere in particular? I hear his work at Romsey Abbey was held in high regard.
  11. Who needs monthly music lists when you can argue about what's next during prayers? 😄
  12. Yes, thank you for that. It certainly clarifies a few things for me, I shall have to check out Baldwin's book. I had assumed that Master of the Children would have generally been the most senior Gentleman and, prior to an official DoM role, would have had responsibility for what was sung. But perhaps this fell to whichever organist was present and the Master was really just concerned with the choristers as the title suggests. I've never been to any of the royal chapels (except St Peter ad Vincula many years ago) but I intend to correct that this year, hopefully when the choirs are present.
  13. Richard Cook, Sub-Assistant Organist and Director of the Voluntary Choir at Worcester Cathedral, has been appointed Assistant Director of Music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
  14. Currently the Chapel Royal choirs seem clearly divided, with St James's and Hampton Court appearing to be entirely separate choirs with their own Directors of Music. Does anyone know when this came about? My understanding is that, historically, the choir was one body, with the Master of the Children de facto Director of Music. Since the Restoration there seems to have been more than one organist, John Blow for example was "one of the organists", and was in charge by virtue of being Master of the Children. Does anyone know what happened to the title of Master of the Children? Is it currently held by either of the Directors of Music at St James's or Hampton Court, or was it abolished when the choirs were divided?
  15. On a similar note St John's up the road now seem to have 18 on the back row for regular services. Their website still says 15 choral scholars (up from 14 under George Guest I believe with an extra bass). I suppose adding on gap-year volunteers etc is relatively easy, the limit being how many can squeeze in the choir stalls.
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