St Andrews students reinvigorate folksongs

Friday 30 October 2015


The University of St Andrews is to release a second album of choral music on its ground-breaking record label, Sanctiandree, the first label to be established by a Scottish university.

Ca’ the Yowes: A Traditional Tapestry will be released on Monday 23 November, featuring performances of popular traditional songs such as The Skye Boat Song, The Turtle Dove, Loch Lomond and Auld Lang Syne by the University’s renowned St Salvator’s Chapel Choir.

Choral singing has been a key feature of student life at the University of St Andrews since its foundation in 1413, with early sources referring to the ‘Choristi Sanctiandree’, when all students were obliged to sing in the chapel.

University Organist Tom Wilkinson directs St Salvator’s Chapel Choir. Commenting on the release of Ca’ the Yowes, Tom said: “St Salvator’s Chapel Choir represents a centuries-old tradition in a profoundly international cultural setting. In this context, the performance of folk songs has a special place in our repertoire and a special resonance with our listeners. This is especially true at our graduation ceremonies; a defining moment in the student rite of passage and a time when the University welcomes countless family and friends from all corners of the globe.

“The performance of traditional songs has become a cherished tradition at these extraordinary occasions and one which, as a result, has become synonymous with the choir. Successive University Organists have, unsurprisingly, found themselves naturally drawn to the arrangement of folk songs: my own modest contributions follow in the rich tradition of my illustrious predecessors Cedric Thorpe Davie and John Kitchen, whose beautiful version of The Isle of Mull opens the disc.”

Ca’ the Yowes features traditional songs from Scotland, Ireland and England, arranged by distinguished musical figures including Ralph Vaughan-Williams, James MacMillan andDavid Willcocks, as well as Tom Wilkinson and former University Organist John Kitchen.

Ca’ the Yowes also includes a bonus track – a performance by Tom Wilkinson of Scotland’s most famous piece of classical music, the nationalistic overture The Land of the Mountain and the Flood by Hamish MacCunn, played on the 1923 Harrison and Harrison concert organ at The Caird Hall in Dundee.

To mark the release of Ca’ the Yowes, St Salvator’s Chapel Choir will give a concert in the chapel of Haddo House, Aberdeenshire, courtesy of The National Trust for Scotland on Saturday 21 November at 1pm. Tickets for this event, which includes afternoon tea in Haddo House library following the performance, are available from The National Trust for Scotland priced £10 by calling 01651 851440 and online.

Ca’ the Yowes will be on general sale from Monday 23 November, priced £9.99. All proceeds will go to the University of St Andrews Music Centre to fund future choral activities.

Notes to editor

A private performance will also take place at 7pm on Saturday 21 November. To reserve press seats for this or the earlier 1pm performance, please contact [email protected].

Images of St Salvator’s Chapel Choir and of the front cover of Ca’ the Yowes are available for publication.

St Salvator’s Chapel Choir members are supported by choral scholarships, allowing them free access to weekly singing lessons and touring activities. Choir members are important ambassadors for the University, touring internationally on an annual basis in addition to their extensive ceremonial and liturgical duties in St Andrews. They are the only university choir in Scotland that sings three services a week.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310 or [email protected].

Category Student experience

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