Friday, December 11, 2015

St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School, London, Anglophile Friday



St. Paul's Cathedral Choir singing 'Once in Royal David's City,' one of my very favorite Christmas carols.

Here's a bit about the boy choristers, whom I've mentioned in other posts. I found this article in the UK Telegraph and thought it was interesting.

From the UK Telegraph

"For the few boys who make the grade, the choir of St Paul's Cathedral School represents the opportunity of a lifetime. Rupert Christiansen sees how this disciplined institution continues to flourish in the age of the iPod. 

 St. Paul's Cathedral, London
St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School, R.
 
"Although it is now housed in modern glass and concrete premises under the shadow of Sir Christopher Wren's great dome, St Paul's Cathedral School ranks as one of the oldest educational institutions in the Western world, tracing its existence back to 1127. Its history has been somewhat chequered - in the late 16th century, the school ran a sensational juvenile theatrical company that rivalled Shakespeare's Globe, just a stone's throw over the river; 200 years later it had sunk into a disrepute from which it was rescued by a redoubtable Victorian reformer called Maria Hackett.

St. Augustine Tower
St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School
See the following Wikipedia article

 From Wikipedia:

“St Augustine, Watling Street was an Anglican church which stood just to the east of St. Paul's Cathedral in the City of London . First recorded in the 12th century, it was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and rebuilt to the designs of Christopher Wren. This building was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, and its remains now form part of St Paul's Cathedral Choir School…


“The church stood on the north side of Watling Street, at the corner with Old Change. According to Richard Newcourt, the dedication was to St. Augustine of Canterbury, rather than St Augustine of Hippo. The earliest recorded mentioned of the church is from 1148…The medieval building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666… 


“After the fire the parish was united with that of St. Faith's, whose congregation had previously worshipped in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral. St. Augustine's was rebuilt to a design by Christopher Wren; the foundations, revealed by the excavations of 1965, were mostly of re-used stones set in mortar. The new church opened in September, 1683, but the steeple was not finished until 1695… 


“The church was destroyed by bombing in 1941. It was not rebuilt, but the tower was restored in 1954.] and later incorporated into a new choir school for St Paul's Cathedral, completed in 1967.”

 

(Back to the UK Telegraph, keeping in mind that the new girl choristers might have an opinion different from that of Mr. Christiansen):  "In some respects, the school is no longer as exceptional as it once was. Until 1989 its sole pupils were between 30 and 40 boy choristers (Westminster Abbey is the last all-boy choir school), but now it has opened up and become co-educational, accommodating 240 children from the ages of four to 13 and functioning as a rumbustious and friendly prep school, with a strong musical bent - almost everyone sings and learns an instrument.

"But those boy choristers remain at the heart of the school's identity - an elite, if you like, though everyone is at pains to deny this or play it down. They are the only boarders, leading a life of almost monastic routine and rigour, with an hour's practice before the ordinary school day starts and a further hour after it ends.

 St. Paul's Cathedral Courtyard

"In their traditional vestments - they dislike their white ruffs, which chafe their throats and impede their singing - they then proceed via a connecting door and winding stairwell into the cathedral for evensong. Thursday is their day off, a chance for afternoon sport, but on Sundays they don't finish until 5pm and from Advent until Christmas, they are busy with carol services and midnight mass." (Read the remainder of the article HERE.)



For all you cat lovers out there, I thought I'd add this last paragraph from the Wikipedia entry:

"The church cat, named Faith, became quite well known after the air raid which destroyed St Augustine's. Days before she was seen moving her kitten, Panda, to a basement area. Despite being brought back several times, Faith insisted on returning Panda to her refuge. On the morning after the air raid the rector searched through the dangerous ruins for the missing animals, and eventually found Faith, surrounded by smouldering rubble and debris but still guarding the kitten in the spot she had selected three days earlier. The story of her premonition and rescue eventually reached Maria Dickin, founder of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, and for her courage and devotion Faith was awarded a specially-made silver medal. Her death in 1948 was reported on four continents."


 Faith
( a.k.a. Tuppence)


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25 comments:

Marcia said...

Once in Royal ... is my favorite carole too. Every Christmas Eve morning we tune in at 10 am on public radio to the live broadcast from Cambridge of Lessons and Caroles which is always started with that lone boy soprano. In 2014 when we visited London we went to evening vespers at Westminster Abby. We were near the front of the line so we were seated in the choir section. To our right were the boy altos and across the boy sopranos. The men's voices were seated behind each of those. It wasn't Christmas but still the music was splendid. Gave me chills and tears to hear it in such a historic setting.

Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

Love the carol. I honestly didn't know a fraction of any of that, CM. The story about the cat is particularly good, though. And I do agree with Marcia that hearing music in the right setting can enhance the atmosphere.

Terri D said...

Ahh...what a cute photo of Tuppence!! Beautiful song and such lovely photos!! Well done Anglophile Friday!

Sandra said...

the music is beautiful and there voices are wonderful, the story not so much, to me boarding school is like a prison and i would never want to have to live there... or sing there... all that school and practice time is like child labor to me.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

So beautiful, Judy! Thank you so much for posting the beautiful music of this extraordiary choir. I hope these boys are happy--so structured and strict. ♥

podso said...

Those boys can't sing for too long, can they--before their voices change. Thanks for posting such a beautiful rendition of a favorite carol. Beautiful photos too and more interesting history. Have a good weekend!

Susie said...

Judy, What a wonderful Choir. I loved how they sounded. Those old buildings and churches...nothing can ever look like that in this day. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

Deanna Rabe said...

That was lovely! I enjoyed reading about the school and the choir boys!

Deanna

Jenny Woolf said...

I knew someone who went to St Pauls choir school. It was pretty hard work and he enjoyed it but he became something totally different when he grew up and never sang professionally./ But he got such a good musical education that he has always had fun singing with others, being in choirs, and listening to music. As you say, a wonderful opportunity.

20 North Ora said...

Very interesting - especially about the cat! Lovely music.

Judy

Mildred said...

I adore the photo of Tuppence. So happy and relaxed.
Thanks for sharing the beautiful video and photos.
Wishing you a blessed weekend.

Michelle said...

Wow! Wonderful music!

genie said...

Beautiful music. I cannot even imagine being a choir boy in England at one of the cathedrals. Their lives are not easy. So disciplined and so much expected from them...and sososo competitive. Loved seeing your pictures tonight,

Vee said...

Perfect timing...the music lasted throughout my reading. They dislike their white ruffs, eh? I should think so, but they sure look good in them. Amazing story of disaster and building from the rubble...more than once.

McGuffy Ann Morris said...

I enjoy these beautiful posts. I am able to travel by tagging along here. Thank you! Hugs.

Missy George said...

Beautiful rendition of a favorite carol.Lovely pictures..Those boys don't have an easy life..Hope you are having a good weekend..

Anita Johnson said...

I was totally amazed at the soloist...and then I read about the cat. Great blog post...that has always been a favorite song of mine!

Tom said...

Impressive!

..."E"... Beth Edwards said...

very cool. love the spire. i think i got it fixed ... it looks better on the InSPIREd Sunday page. thanks for telling me, all good. hope you are well this week. we are waiting for some cold weather to arrive. it has been so warm lately. such an odd winter. a lot of us are worried that it is high time for a really bad snow storm. ha. ha!! take care. ( :

ellen b. said...

Beautiful singing...

doodles n daydreams said...

A very interesting post. i enjoyed the singing, boys voices are so beautiful. Faith, what a wonderful mother!

Diana
http://adifferentlenslens365.blogspot.co.nz/2015/12/wedding-chapel.html

Carrie B. said...

Such a beautiful carol and I love reading about the history - I'm sure there were many that didn't like the addition of the Gals, but changing tradition is often a difficult transition. Lol

LOVE the kitty story! ::sniff:: - so sweet.
Thanks for sharing dear Friend! xoxo

Bill Nicholls said...

That is one place I would love to visit.

** Podr├│┼╝niczka .**** said...

Hy!
Very interesing church.
Yours:)*

J_on_tour said...

Nice to be reminded of the history and a great story about the cat.

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