Name: Lucy Gibbs
Voice Part: Alto
What was your singing experience before you joined the choir?
I sang in my local church choir which sang three Sunday eucharists a month, was part of a chamber choir at school, a county youth girls’ choir, and had been on a couple of choral courses. I didn’t have any experience of singing evensong or much exposure to many of the popular choral works. But this did not prove to be a barrier when I became a Choral Scholar at Merton.
What has been your favourite piece of music to sing?
My favourite pieces of music have come from contemporary composers including Dobrinka Tabakova, James MacMillan, and Ēriks Ešenvalds. One particular favourite of mine was singing MacMillan’s The Seven Last Words from the Cross at Tewkesbury Abbey for the Three Choirs Festival in 2019. It’s a very atmospheric and emotional piece, and such a joy to sing.
Why did you choose to apply to be a Choral Scholar at Merton?
I applied to Merton to be a Choral Scholar primarily because the Chapel is an absolutely beautiful place to sing in; its acoustics are stunning. As a college, Merton has such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere too in and outside the Chapel. The two aspects combined inspired me to apply for a Choral Scholarship at Merton.
What’s the best thing about being a member of the Merton College Choir?
The best thing is the huge variety of choral music that the choir gets to sing during term-time at evensong or eucharist. Not only that, but the choir also performs concerts in different venues across the UK throughout the year, does annual CD recordings at the end of the year, and frequently goes on tour abroad.
What has been your most memorable experience whilst being a member of the Choir?
The most memorable experience has to be the tour to Singapore and Hong Kong in my second year. We performed at Singapore’s Victoria Hall and appeared on Hong Kong television!
Do you do any other music activities other than Choir?
In Oxford, there is so much music happening, whether it’s orchestras, choirs, or on the stage, so there are lots of opportunities to get involved with. I sing with the university chamber choir, Schola Cantorum, and have taken part in a couple of musical theatre and opera productions with the university Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Whatever your taste in music, Oxford is bound to have a society or group to suit; and if not, start one up!