Jump to content
Mander Organs
DHM

King's, Cambridge - Back Row

Recommended Posts

Does anybody know when and why the back row at King’s grew to 8 per side?
My understanding was that there were always 12 Choral Scholars + 2 Volunteers, making 4A, 4T, 2Bar, 4B.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my days at another college in Cambridge, I had always understood the back row, then under Philip Ledger, to comprise fourteen choral scholars (4A, 4T, 6B). Looking at material on YouTube - some of which has I suspect has been placed there without permission, the back row has apparently varied between 15 and 16 from 2008 to 2018.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are currently 5 altos to my knowledge.

To complicate things, on some recent YouTube videos you may occasionally spot an organ scholar singing on the back row.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DHM: Is you observation based on what was shown on the TV or a visit to Cambridge? What gets shown on TV is rarely a typical set-up and the back row might be augmented if the TV director thinks it would make better TV. Also the back row might be larger if the repertoire required it. Likewise the front row may have more than the usual daily number of boys. Getting a TV gig pays money so I can imagine as many people would want to be involved as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The mystery deepens. On this page http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/choir/about/choir-today.html it states "King’s College Choir comprises 16 boy choristers, and 14 male undergraduates. There are also two organ scholars."

But looking at the pictures on the same page. The photo of the choir in the chapel stalls does have 14 men in the back row, interestingly split 8/6. The picture on the same page of the choir recording Messiah has no less than 17 men in the back row.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Intriguing.  Lay Clerks, if the term is used correctly, usually means singers in ‘New Foundation’ cathedrals, Canterbury, Durham, Ely, Peterborough, Rochester, Winchester etc.  That would not be inconsistent for past members of Cambridge college choirs.  One assumes that the current members calling themselves Lay Clerks are not Choral Scholars.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For many years, both King's and John's choirs have been known to occasionally include graduate singers who are not necessarily members of the two respective colleges. They are termed Lay Clerks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...