Cambridge, UK

© 2016 by Anna Lapwood

With thanks to Nick Rutter and Hugh Warwick for the photos.


The Organ Scholars at Pembroke work directly with the Director of Music, taking on responsibility for planning the music of the Chapel Services and for recruiting and training the Choir. The College sets considerable store on allowing the scholars the opportunity to shape the musical life of the Chapel, ensuring a degree of autonomy in making musical decisions and extensive experience in conducting.

Alongside accompanying the Chapel Choir, the Organ Scholar also works with the Girls' Choir, giving scholars the opportunity to learn about training young voices. The combination of the Girls' Choir and Chapel Choir leads to a commitment of four services a week.

Sunday Eucharist is entirely the responsibility of the organ scholars, who put together a choir of volunteers, rehearse the music and conduct the service.


Alongside regular Choristerships, the College appoints a small consort of Choral Exhibitioners each year. Exhibitioners sing all regular services, as well as a Sung Eucharist every week, providing an opportunity to explore some more challenging consort repertoire. Exhibitioners are encouraged to take the lead with the Choir's extensive outreach work, both continuing existing projects and exploring means of expansion. In return, they receive the standard choir benefits alongside a small annual stipend.


Pembroke does not make choral awards until students arrive in October. Auditions for places in the Choir (known as Choristerships) are held towards the end of freshers' week every year. Choristers can expect to sing an average of two services a week, in return for which they receive free singing lessons and a free formal meal every Sunday, alongside two heavily subsidised tours each year.


Pembroke Choir consists of between twenty-five and thirty voices, made up of both undergraduates and post-graduates. The Choir not only welcomes students from Pembroke, but also those from other colleges.The Choir, directed by Anna Lapwood, offers the opportunity for regular liturgical singing, frequent tours, and CD recordings. Alongside regular commitments, the Choir places a considerable emphasis on outreach, working in local schools and churches, and organising Come and Sing workshops. Pembroke Choir offers the perfect compromise for keen singers who lead busy lives. The Choir sings Sunday Evensong every week, and Compline every other week, meaning that the overall commitment is significantly lower than many other Cambridge Choirs. For those who wish to sing more regularly, there is the option to apply for a choral exhibition and sing Eucharist every Sunday morning. There is also a small, voluntary Graduate Choir who sing Compline, alternating with the Chapel Choir. The commitment is therefore extremely flexible depending on individual preference. The Choir also does two tours a year.