We are an auditioning chamber choir of about 35 keen amateur singers, performing modern and traditional choral music to a high standard. Recent concerts have included Duruflé’s beautiful Requiem, Mozart’s sprightly Missa Brevis, pieces by Poulenc,Tavener and Bach, gospel music, and contemporary compositions by René Clausen, Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen. Our repertoire is eclectic, with both modern and historical music combined innovatively into thematic programmes.
We give four concerts a year, three of them in Oxford in some of its most beautiful venues, including the Sheldonian Theatre, the University Church of St Mary the Virgin and the college chapels of Exeter, The Queen’s, Merton and Keble. Our annual away day has taken us to historic locations in London, Windsor and Adderbury. You can find out more about the choir and see examples of past concerts here: About us and Concert archive.
What to expect
The City of Oxford Choir is committed to performing to a high standard, and therefore we expect our members to attend the vast majority of rehearsals, to have some sight-reading ability, and to spend time outside rehearsal learning music as necessary. We rehearse weekly during term-time on Mondays from 7.30pm until 9.30pm in Oxford, currently at the Oxford High School for Girls in North Oxford. Rehearsals are conducted by our Musical Director, Duncan Aspden, and often include sessions with our vocal coach Billy Purefoy. We expect members to sing in all of the year's concerts as part of their commitment to the choir but understand that sometimes other committments and/or illness etc. are unavoidable. There are also solo opportunities.
We're serious about our music, but we're also just a friendly group of adults from all walks of life including students and professionals who really like to sing. After rehearsals, we generally head to the pub, and there are regular social events after concerts and throughout the year.
If we sound like your kind of choir, we would love to hear from you. Please email our Secretary, Robert Grayson, letting us know your vocal part and your experience, and we'll arrange for you to come to a rehearsal to see what you think. If you decide you would like to join, we'll arrange an audition on the same night or another Monday with our Director of Music.
The audition shouldn't be seen as an ordeal. It's an opportunity for our Musical Director to get to know your voice, its range and tonal qualities, and to see whether you'll fit in with the sound and pace of the choir. There is no need to prepare a piece, although if you wish to do so, you may; alternatively, you can sing one of the ones we're rehearsing. You will also be asked to do a few vocal and aural exercises and to try some sight-reading.