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J is for…Jesus College, Cambridge

Today, Tuesday 10 December, we are off to Cambridge to visit Jesus College.

Photo: Nick Rutter

View our complete Advent Calendar here

Jesus College is fortunate to have two choirs: the Chapel Choir and the College Choir.

The Chapel Choir comprises a back row of adults (who are generally students at the University) and boy trebles who, rather than attending a specific choir school, are recruited from a wide range of local schools. The boys rehearse twice a week in addition to singing two Services of Choral Evensong.

The College Choir, formed in 1982, has female sopranos for its top line, in addition to the same back row that sings in the Chapel Choir. The College choir sings two Evensongs per week, as well as at major College events, and concerts both in the UK and abroad.  The choirs enjoy singing together and do so for many significant events, tours and recordings.

Photo: Nick Rutter

The singers are having a busy week. They have just returned from Sunday’s concert at Edington Priory Church in Wiltshire. Their director, Richard Pinel, is also the Director of the Edington Festival of Music within the Liturgy, which takes place there every August.

Tomorrow, the College Choir is giving a concert in the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the Combined Choirs will sing a concert in Jesus College Chapel on 15th December, featuring Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, as well as many other seasonal favourites.

Here are the boys rehearsing another carol by Britten.  Click on the speaker icon on the bottom right-hand side to turn on the sound!


The choristers enjoy coming to sing after a day at school. One boy told us:

‘I enjoy singing in the choir at Jesus, because it feels like something that is separate from my school life. It is great to be able to come to Jesus College after school and see friends that I don’t get to see during the day. It’s sometimes quite challenging because we’re all tired after a day at school, and we have a lot of music to get through in the rehearsals straight before the service, but I think Mr Pinel is normally pleased with us….I hope so anyway.’

FCM was very pleased to award a grant to Jesus College this year. It is being put to good use which supplementing the existing fund for music lessons for the choristers, increasing the support that is offered to the boys and their families.

Richard Pinel told us:

‘It is so important for the boys to have a musical education in addition to what we offer at Jesus College, and this grant will be absolutely invaluable in ensuring more boys have access to music lessons, furthering their opportunities for music making.’

FCM relies on subscriptions and donations to be able to make grants to choirs like Jesus College. You can support FCM by joining us, or simply by making a donation:

Donate to the Friends of Cathedral Music

FCM promotes the work of choral foundations through the year. If you would like to hear more from us, please sign up to our emailing list:

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Find out more about the music and services at Jesus College, Cambridge