A ‘triumph and delight’: a celebration of Royal Music at the Queen’s Chapel

Choral masterpieces were sung and the history of Royal Music was explained during a delightful afternoon of music and lectures in the Queen’s Chapel at St James’ Palace.

Almost 100 alumni, friends and family enjoyed the special event, organised by OUS Gloucestershire, at the beautiful chapel in London on 3 July. They were greeted with a welcome given by Reverend Canon Paul Wright, who then took a Choral Eucharist, with music chosen and conducted by Huw Williams, the Director of Music at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal.  A variety of music was performed by the Boys of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, who also gave their thoughts on schooling and musical experiences during their time with the choir.

After lunch, the guests were welcomed back to the chapel with a speech given by Lord Patten, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, about the impressively enduring relationship alumni have with Oxford. Lectures followed on the history and architectural history of the chapel, given by Rev Wright and Professor William Whyte respectively. Rev Wright then led guests through the Marlborough Gardens, giving further insights into the history of the chapel, which was originally designed by Inigo Jones in the 1620s.

James Bowman, a countertenor and Honorary Fellow of New College, then reminisced about his time at Oxford in the 1960s, when he sang in both the New College and Christ Church choirs. He also gave an insight into his experiences singing at the Chapel Royal.

The finale saw Williams lead the congregation through an assortment of pieces that were composed for various royals over the centuries, with a particular focus on those who had hailed from Gloucestershire, such as Parry’s I was Glad and SS Wesley’s Wash Me Throughly. When the last note faded guests were invited to give their thoughts on the day. Jerry Rhodes (Exeter, 1950) said: ‘The event was a triumph and delight.’ Carole Johnson (Department for Continuing Education, 2008) said: ‘The sheer quality of all we saw and heard made it a sublime day and one I shall remember always.’ Ruth Dipple (St Hugh’s, 1971) said: ‘It was a day I will never forget – so informative, exciting and amusing.’

We would once again like to thank the Queen’s Chapel and Rev Wright for kindly hosting our alumni and guests and creating such a wonderful afternoon for all who attended.

Sam Tolley – Secretary of OUS Gloucestershire