The Chapel is at the heart of Hertford’s vibrant musical life. The choir rehearses and performs here, there are Wednesday lunchtime recitals in term, and the college orchestra performs here regularly.
The perfect combination of carved wood, stone and marble lends the Chapel a wonderful acoustic, and our college musicians practise here regularly.
Hertford College Chapel Choir is an open, mixed choir that leads the singing at Chapel services. We specialise in the music of the English choral tradition, from Thomas Tallis to Herbert Howells. We’re proud of our high choral standards and inclusive membership – we have a long-standing tradition of not auditioning, but of welcoming all who wish to sing. We’ve found that this helps to foster confidence and singing ability in those who might not have had the opportunity to sing demanding music.
Every Wednesday lunchtime in term, the Hertford College Music Society puts on a free, public music recital in the Chapel. The recitals start at 1.10 pm, and we try to conclude by 2 pm. Most performers are members of the college – students and staff – with the ocassional musical friend joining us. Performances range from solo instrumentalists and singers to larger ensembles. Details of upcoming recitals are advertised on the HCMS website, and posted outside the college’s main gate on Catte Street.
2020 lockdown recitals can be watched on the HCMS Lunchtime Recitals page.
Scholarships and awards
We’re pleased to be able to offer a wide range of support to organists and choir singers at Hertford. Discover what we offer below.
Hertford College awards two organ scholarships at any one time. These scholarships are available to students who apply to study music at the college, and are awarded via the University of Oxford’s central organ-awards scheme.
Unlike organ scholarships at many other colleges, Hertford organ scholars are not deputies to a professional organist or music director, but have significant autonomy in organising the chapel’s music, playing the organ and directing the choir themselves.
Hertford organ scholars graduate with a far greater experience of music planning and directing. This is a deliberate policy, intended to grow young leaders.
Further benefits include:
- A stipend of £500 per annum
- Fully-funded organ, conducting and singing lessons
- A unique leadership development programme, including training and mentoring
- The opportunity to help shape the musical life of the Chapel
Hertford College offers a total of eight choral awards at any time to fulfil leading roles in the Hertford College Chapel Choir. The awards are provided from the generosity of the present and former Principals and the Hertford Society. Usually, but not necessarily, two awards are offered for each of the vocal parts: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The awards are worth £250 as a honorarium each year.
Award holders, known as choral clerks (clericuli chorales principalium et alumnorum), are expected to:
- sing at every Sunday Evensong and Thursday Eucharist in term;
- attend choir rehearsals every Friday and Sunday in term;
- and mentor and support other members of their part.
Auditions for choral awards are held every year in Freshers’ Week (0th week of Michaelmas term). For more information, please contact the Chaplain.