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University choir sings Christmas classics

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The unique atmosphere of the University of St Andrews’ traditional Carol Service is now available on a new CD of Christmas favourites sung by St Salvator’s Chapel Choir.

Released on Sanctiandree Records, the album features the world premiere of Philip Stopford’s setting of Ave Maris Stella, commissioned for Voces8 by the St Andrews Voices festival in 2015, and captures the very special atmosphere of the University’s annual Christmas Carol Service when staff, students and members of the St Andrews community join together to celebrate Christmas.

Classics on the new album, entitled A Nativity Sequence, include perennial favourites by the late Sir David Willcocks (Ding dong! Merrily on high, Sussex Carol), John Gardner (Tomorrow shall be my dancing day) and Harold Darke (In the bleak mid-winter). The CD also includes festive chorale preludes for organ by Bach, Brahms and Karg-Elert performed by organ scholars George Barrett and Sean Heath.

st-salvator-choir-cd-mainbodyUniversity Organist and Choir Director, Tom Wilkinson, said: “St Salvator’s Chapel Choir takes great joy in singing Christmas carols for the annual University Carol Service, an event which has a unique atmosphere.

“For that reason I think it was relatively easy to give this CD a certain magical touch. The singers warmed especially to Philip Stopford’s sublime Ave maris stella, which receives its world premiere recording on this disc.”

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

Today’s chapel choir members are all supported by choral scholarships, allowing them free access to weekly singing lessons and touring activities. The choir are also important ambassadors for the University, touring internationally on an annual basis in addition to their extensive ceremonial and liturgical duties in St Andrews.

Recent performances include appearances with Dame Emma Kirkby at the Thueringer Bachwochen and with the Kammerchor Josquin des Prez and the Leipziger Barockorchester at St Thomas’s Church, Leipzig. They are the only University choir in Scotland to sing three services each week during semester.


Notes to news editors

Sanctiandree, the University of St Andrews’ CD label, is distributed in the UK by Proper Note.

The CD is available to buy online now but will be formally launched at the University of St Andrews Christmas Carol Service on Saturday 10 December at 8pm in Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews.

If press would like to attend rehearsal for photographs earlier in the day between 2 and 4.30pm, please contact the press office on the number below. Photo opportunities of the choir in red gowns will be available from 2pm and a brass band accompaniment from 4pm.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 462530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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