In 2016 Merton College became the first College in Oxford University to admit girls into its Choral Foundation. The twenty-four girl choristers attend many different schools across Oxford and beyond, and rehearse at Merton on a Monday and Wednesday during school terms. Receiving specialist musical training from the College’s professional musicians, they sing Choral Evensong each Wednesday during University term, often with six professional adult singers who sing the lower parts. In addition, the choir undertakes a number of concerts and other activities each year, including performing in the Passiontide at Merton festival.
Girls are welcomed into the choir as probationers during Year 4, and sing as Choristers up to the end of Year 11. By negotiation, they can continue in the choir whilst in the sixth form. They receive tuition in Music Theory, and have singing lessons with Carys Lane.
The benefits of working alongside Merton College Choir (30 undergraduate and graduate students at the University) has led to the choristers participating in a number of high profile events including concert performances of Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Instruments of Time & Truth, and Elgar’s The Apostles with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The choristers have performed in The Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford and Durham Cathedral, and have taken part in the world première of new pieces by Neil Cox and Gabriel Jackson, including the first performance of Jackson’s Stabat Mater with The Marian Consort.
The College’s Director of Music, Benjamin Nicholas, is happy to hear prospective girl choristers at any time. To make an appointment please contact Sarah Cotterill, Chapel Administrator, on 01865 616724.