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Choir and Organ


Choir in Bury
Choir in Bradford

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Choral Evensong is livestreamed on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30pm and on Sundays at 6:00pm on the Chapel YouTube channel.

About The Choir

("...a sound of unostentatious magnificence" - The Scotsman)
("Splendid singing from the Selwyn students" - The Times)

Selwyn College Chapel Choir has led worship in the College Chapel since its foundation in the last decade of the nineteenth century. For the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, the all-male choir of undergraduates was directed by the Organ Scholars, and sang daily Choral Evensong. For occasional larger works, the men borrowed sopranos and altos from Newnham College, the women's College across the road from Selwyn. The mixed choir, formed in 1976 with the admission of women to Selwyn, now consists of up to twenty-eight singers, Choral Scholars (called Choral Exhibitioners) and volunteers, and the choir's link with Newnham continues to the present day. Most of the choir members are undergraduates or graduates at Selwyn or Newnham, with a few volunteers from other colleges, and they read a variety of subjects including Music, English, Natural Sciences, and Engineering. During term, the choir sings three services per week in the College Chapel, as well as concerts and services throughout the UK, recently in venues including Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, and St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh. Its repertoire ranges from the 10th to the 21st century. They have broadcast services for BBC Radio, have sung live on television, and every year undertake an international tour (in the recent past destinations have included Israel and Palestine, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and much of mainland Europe).

They regularly broadcast services for BBC Radios 3 and 4, and every year undertake an international tour (in the recent past destinations have included Israel and Palestine, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and much of mainland Europe). In their long-standing association with JAM, Selwyn Choir has premiered major new works by some of the UK's foremost composers, including Jonathan Dove, John McCabe, Gabriel Jackson, Paul Patterson, Judith Bingham, Steve Martland, and Adam Gorb. The choir has made over 20 commercial recordings under Sarah MacDonald’s direction. They have made something of a niche for themselves recording single-living-composer discs, and have released several, including discs of works by Colin Mawby, Paul Spicer, Paul Edwards, Gary Higginson, Alan Bullard, and Phillip Cooke, John Hosking, Mark Gotham, Benjamin Ponniah, Iain Quinn, Paul Ayres, Richard Peat, and Joanna Gill. 




The choir's regular weekly commitment is as follows:

1545-1615 : soloists' rehearsal (some weeks)
1615-1740 : full rehearsal
1800-1900 : Choral Evensong
1715-1815 : rehearsal
1830-1915 : Choral Evensong
twice per term, a rehearsal and Compline or other late night service
1715-1815 : rehearsal
1830-1915 : Choral Evensong

Supper on Sunday evenings, an informal hot meal with wine and soft drinks, is provided free for all choir members. Formal Hall (a formal three-course dinner), follows Evensong on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The choir also sings for extra services, including the annual Commemoration of Benefactors, College Carol Services, Communion Services on Holy Days, late-night Compline, funerals, and weddings (for which fees are sometimes paid).

Archived Music Lists

The choir sings a broad and diverse range of sacred repertoire, from the 12th to the 21st centuries. Music by female composers, both contemporary and historical, as well as repertoire by composers from the Global Majority Heritage community, appear regularly.  Concerts and tours provide opportunities for the choir to sing secular music such as madrigals, folksongs, and part-songs. The Director of Music is happy to incorporate requests from members of the Choir into forthcoming Music Lists. (See our most recent or current Music list.) Archived Music Lists can be viewed here:

During the pandemic, termly music lists were not published.

Pre-pandemic music lists are available here: