Mar 21, 2018

The Pure Felicity of Divine Music


Faire is the heav’n, where happy souls have place,

In full enjoyment of felicitie


The Choir of St. John’s is known throughout the world for its excellence in music. This choir, with roots tightly secured to the hallowed grounds of Cambridge, has spread its fame across borders. It is one of the most loved and respected collegiate choirs in the world.


The origin of the Choir of St. John’s can be traced back to the foundation of the College itself, in the year 1511. A more formal version of the choir was established in the 1670s. The arrangement of the choir at that time remains the same, by and large, to this day.


The Choir follows the English Cathedral Choral Tradition, made up of an all-male ensemble with 20 Choristers and Probationers from St. John’s College School and also 15 Choral Scholars, who are members of St. John’s College.


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This is where choirs from both universities, Oxford and Cambridge, are markedly different from most other modern-day choirs. Instead of professionals, these choirs made up of only students at all positions in the choir, both men and boys. Not only does this increase opportunities for the more musically minded students, it also helps keep the sound and music of the choir fresh and ever-evolving.


The choir was set up for daily services and worship at the St. John’s College, and is dedicated to enhancing the liturgy, worship and daily services at the Chapel. The services conducted by the choir follow the tradition of the Church of England. Over the past several years, the members of the choir have managed to successfully widen the repertoire of the choir. Today, it extends much further than just the core Anglican pieces!


The choir is dedicated to the college Chapel activities to this day, performing a Sunday Eucharist and evening song all days of the week except on Mondays; this remains the choir’s primary raison d’être. In addition, the choir also performs, records and travels once the college term ends. St. John’s has a collection of over 90 recordings under its wing, and its weekly webcasts attract millions of people who love and appreciate the rich and distinctive sounds produced by the talented group.


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Events around the world

Apart from these recordings, the choir also holds events and concerts. The choir has held much-praised performances at some of the best venues in the country including Symphony Hall, Birmingham, St. John’s, Smith Square and Royal Festival Hall, London. These events are spread not only across the whole of the UK but also overseas. It has performed at destinations like Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, the USA and countries all over Europe – the Netherlands, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland to name a few.


Hong Kong events

The next destination on this long list is Hong Kong. The event will be organized by Christine N Concerts Limited, in which the choir will be performing Faire is the Heaven. The programme is a cross-section of the repertoire of the choir which has stretched from the sixteenth century to the present day. The repertoire, although dominated by British pieces, will also include pieces from France, Russia, Germany and the USA. This wide array of music has been popular through the ages. The vast variety of music that has been incorporated in the choir is designed in a way that it will appeal to a large range of audiences. The program includes the following devotional songs:


John Sheppard - The Lord’s Prayer

Orlando Gibbons - Drop, drop, slow tears

Benjamin Britten - Jubilate Deo

Anton Bruckner - Locus iste

C. V. Stanford - Justorum animae

Organ Solo played by James Anderson-Besant: Charles-Marie Widor Finale (Symphony No. 6)

Herbert Howells - Magnificat (Gloucester Service)

Ned Rorem - Sing, my soul, his wondrous love

Gerald Finzi - God is gone up

Sergei Rachmaninoff - Hymn of the Cherubim

Francis Poulenc - Salve Regina

Jonathan Dove - Gloria (Missa Brevis)

Organ Solo played by Glen Dempsey: Herbert HOWELLS - Paean

William Harris - Faire is the heaven

Christopher Robinson - Jesu, grant me this I pray

C. H. H. Parry - Blest pair of sirens


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Andrew Nethsingha


The event will be conducted by Andrew Nethsingha, the Director of Music for St. John’s Orchestra, an English choral conductor and organist. In the year 1994, Nethsingha became the youngest cathedral organist in the UK. The organists for the event will be Glen Dempsey and James Anderson-Besant.




Concert in Hong Kong: Faire is the Heaven

Date: Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Timing: 8:00pm to 10:00pm

Venue: Hong Kong City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place


Book Tickets Now



#Mozaic #StJohnsChoir #HKCityHall #Cambridge

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