Our New Voluntary Choir

Esther Brazil

Big news: we are starting a voluntary choir at St Mary’s, to sing at Compline at 9pm every Thursday night in term time (11 October - 29 November). This is going to be a choir in the fine monastic tradition of everyone singing together, from tone-deaf to expert. All are warmly welcome, and there is no minimum attendance requirement.

A word about Compline: if you haven’t been before, it’s a peaceful candlelit service, around fifteen minutes long, in which readings, psalms, prayers, and silence intertwine to encourage spiritual attentiveness and rest. The parts that aren’t spoken are sung to plainchant, which is simple, single-line medieval music.

You can be a part of this - yes, YOU. It doesn’t matter if you can’t read music, or if you feel shaky about the idea of weird-looking square notes. Plainchant is very easy to get the hang of once you’ve had a few tries, and our 
fifteenth-century Chancel is made for it. I can’t wait to hear a Hildegard anthem bouncing off the stones.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, there is solid scientific evidence that group singing, more than singing on your own, is very good for your health. It soothes stress and sorrow, increases energy, and even reduces pain levels. It simply lifts the spirits and warms the insides like nothing else. (If you want to learn more about the science behind why singing in a choir makes you feel good, click here.)

Come and join us for the first Compline of the academic year on 11 October: we’ll rehearse at 8.45pm for just ten minutes, sing in the 9pm service, and go for a drink across the road afterwards. To join the mailing list, find out more, or arrange a quick one-on-one session to go over the music beforehand, drop me a line at esther.brazil@universitychurch.ox.ac.uk. I can’t wait to sing with you!