Friends of the Chapel Choir – A new scholarship and a call out for photographs, memories and choir stories

On Monday 19 March 2018 the Chapel Choir launched their scholarship fundraising campaign with a reception and live performance among the stunning surrounds of the Brynmor Jones Library Art Gallery.

The event was attended by approximately thirty alumni, students and guests, and featured five performances from the choir based around music from their BBC Radio 3 broadcasts. The choir began with two works from the first broadcast including Sergei Rachmaninov’s ‘Bogoroditsye Devo’, a beautiful setting on the Ave Maria text in Russian, as part of his larger All-Night Vigil, and John Taverner’s ‘The Lamb’, a more contemporary work notable for its remarkable use of inverse retrogrades (at one point, the music line is sung back-to-front, and upside down). Music from the second broadcast followed, including Bruckner’s haunting motet, ‘Locus Iste’ and a ‘There is no Rose’ by John Joubert, composed in 1954 when Joubert was himself a Lecturer in Music at the University of Hull. The performance ended with Thomas Weelkes’ ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ which the choir recently took to Hull City Hall in aid of the David Ross Educational Trust.

The Choir would like to thank Matthew Huggett (1983) for his generous donation leading to the instigation of the Matthew Huggett Scholarship Fund. We are delighted by this support and hope that it will mean a lasting legacy for the preservation and development of the choir, by developing links with neighbouring institutions such as Beverley and Hull Minster, in addition to touring further afield and providing choral scholarships for choir members. We would also like to thank a further anonymous donor who has enabled us to purchase brand new folders for the Choir.

The University of Hull Chapel Choir is open to all students by a process of audition and rehearses every Monday during semester-time at 6pm in the Chapel. It is directed by Dr Simon Desbruslais, Lecturer in Music, with the current organ scholar, Dominic Joyce. The choir performs in local venues, such as the magnificent Beverley Minster and Bridlington Priory, and in venues further afield. Performances in 2017 have included appearing onstage with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Hull Minster, and the Beverley Early Music Festival, in addition to sung Eucharist and Evensong on campus within the University Chapel, and performing live twice on BBC Radio 3.

During the reception it became apparent that there is a rich history to the University of Hull Chapel Choir, going back several decades, which has yet to be properly documented. Dr Simon Desbruslais has begun collecting information and reminiscences about the choir and organists in order to prepare a comprehensive history of the choir. If anyone has any information they would be willing to provide, or you would like to donate to the Choir you are invited to contact Dr Desbruslais directly:

You can connect with the choir on Facebook and spread the word by liking and sharing their content. Look out for a future announcement on establishing a ‘Friends of the University of Hull Chapel Choir’ group.

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