By Goya Verity
This dark, atmospheric chapel has been the home of worship and song in Oriel College for seven centuries, since its foundation in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1326.
Tucked away behind the high street, the chapel holds frequent, intimate services that often accompanied with superb music sung by the Oriel College Chapel Choir – an auditioned mixed choir of about 30 members, who, in their iconic red cassocks, sing two services a week throughout term time: Choral Communion on Wednesdays and Choral Evensong on Sundays.
Auditions are usually in the first few weeks of term and can be arranged at the freshers fair or by getting in contact with the Director of Music. Personally, the evensongs services are a pleasure to sing at: not only do we sing a more varied repertoire, but there tends to be a fuller congregation of people coming to evensong before Formal Hall, making it a very rewarding service to be a part of.
Moreover, Choral and Organ scholarships are available to college members and play a central role in the quality and smooth operation of the choir; for more information click here.
As with most Oxford College Chapel choirs, being a member comes with its perks. In the case of Oriel, it amounts to no small number of biweekly free Formal Halls, stipends, extra gigs and recordings, and all culminating in an annual European tour, with flights and accommodation generously paid for by the college! Recent tour hotspots have been Milan, Munich, Prague, and Rome (so you’ll get a summer holiday out of it, too!) As a good standard, medium-commitment, and maximum satisfaction choir, it goes without saying that anyone who wants to join Oriel College Chapel Choir will be immensely satisfied with the music standards, singing in the beautiful 17th century chapel, and joining a lively social group that will contribute to your unique Oxford experience.