On both of my visits to England, I attended choral services at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Some might think that in my love of all things Royal I went to these services in the hopes of meeting a Royal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I went to hear the choirs- the quality of their singing is truly out of this world. The first time I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the choir began singing a call to worship before processing into the nave (we could hear them but not see them). The unison was so perfectly in sync and in tune that I honestly thought a soloist was singing- not the whole choir. It was unlike anything I had ever heard.
The British choral tradition is incredibly rich and continues to support some of the best choirs in the world. One of my favourites is the Choir of Kings College at Cambridge University. Begun in 1441, this choir continues to be one of the most accomplished British choirs. Each year, I (along with several million other listeners) tun in to the BBC’s broadcast of “Carols from King’s”, a service of lessons and carols sung by the choir on Christmas Eve. The service always begins with a brave young boy singing a solo of Once in Royal David’s City, and includes carols like Infant Holy, Infant Lowly, the Sussex Carol, Away in a Manger and Sing Lullaby.
Four years ago today, I was about to turn completely green with pre-wedding butterflies when CBC played a recording of this choir singing “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day”. It didn’t make the butterflies vanish but replaced more than a few of them excitement and anticipation. This piece thus, is now one of my favourites.