Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lucky Find!

I happened on a wonderful concert this afternoon by the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, England. At first, I just thought it was a random choral concert of boys and men (I wasn't really looking, mostly listening while I did other things). When I finally realized this wasn't just any old group, I started paying attention. They were really good! I didn't discover who they were until the credits rolled. Then, I looked them up. Here are some of the more interesting things I found out (from Wikipedia and the St. John's College website):

It is an old choir in that its origins go back to the beginnings of the College in 1511. They sing the daily liturgy in the college Chapel and broadcast and record extensively. The English cathedral tradition means that the group is made up of men and boys. The boys attend the St. John's College School at the opposite end of the College ground. They walk back and forth between their school and the Chapel wearing gowns and mortar boards (cloaks in the winter).

Before meals, they say Grace: "The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord: and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand: and fillest all things living with plenteousness. Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which out of thine abundance we are about to receive, and grant that by their saving nourishment we may have power to fulfill the obedience due to theek, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

After the meal, they say the Post Prandium: "Pour forth, we beseech thee, Lord god, thy grace into our minds, that we may use these gifts, given by Margaret our foundress adn other Benefactors, to thy glory and together with all who have died in the faith of Christ rise again to life in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. may God, of His infinite mercy, grant His Church unity and peace,k preserve our most august queen, Queen Elizabeth, and grant peace to the whole Realm and to all Christians.

And now, for the most interesting thing of all (to me): Since the 16th century, fellows of St. John's are the only people in England other than the Royal Family who are legally allowed to eat unmarked mute swans.

1 comment:

Morning's Minion said...

Have you read Joanna Trollope's "The Choir?" It was a MasterPiece Theatre production in the late 90's as well as "The Rector's Wife". The music from The Choir was wonderful--I think I wore out the cassette.