Merton College recruits first Girls’ Choir in 750 years

Oxford’s Merton College is launching a new Girls’ Choir, the first time female singers have been recruited to the chapel in its 750-year history. The choir will commence from September, and sing in Merton College Chapel from October.

The new choir is open to girls aged nine to 15 (school years five to 10), with the first auditions taking place on 30 April and 21 May. Anyone interested in finding out more information can attend a special reception session on 26 April at the chapel, followed by a choral evensong.

The Girls’ Choir will be led by Benjamin Nicholas, director of music since 2012, who has directed the Merton College Choir in recordings, tours and concerts. Members of the Girls’ Choir will be expected to rehearse twice a week, and to sing at evensong every Wednesday during the school term.

Currently the all-male choir is made up of 30 undergraduates and post-graduates, many of whom hold choral scholarships at Merton College. The male choir was formed in 2008 and has already toured to France, America and Sweden. Its debut CD In The Beginning was released in 2011 on Delphian Records and features work by Gombert, Weelkes, Holst, Copland and Jackson. It now has a number of CD releases and has also broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Robes and singing lessons are provided for free, with the possibility of performing concerts outside of Merton College Chapel and with the senior male choir.