Choral Music at the Priory Church

The Priory Church currently has two choirs:

1. The Priory Church Choir, a team of professional singers, which sings most of our services throughout the year. It is directed by Rupert Gough, who is Organist & Director of Music of the Parish of Great St Bartholomew – click here to see more about Rupert.

2. The Rahere Singers, our voluntary choir, which sings several services during the year (about once a quarter at the moment). The Rahere Singers provide an important opportunity for members of the our wider community to sing in the Priory Church under Rupert Gough's direction. Information about The Rahere Singers' activities is posted on the Home Page well in advance of the services it will sing, giving details about rehearsals, dates and times.

On most Sundays, our music is accompanied by (or, in the absence of Rupert Gough, directed by) our Sub-Organist and Assistant Director of Music, Ben Horden – click here to see more about Ben.

The Priory Church Choir

The Priory Church Choir comprises a group of professionals selected by Rupert Gough. They form a permanent ensemble that sings most of the services throughout the year, with an extremely diverse and wide-ranging repertoire. When necessary, they are supplemented from a group of approved deps who come in to expand the choir for special occasions, or to sing in place of a permanent member who has to be away for a particular service.

The Priory Church Choir is based on an octet that is funded by the Parochial Church Council, and additional singers who are supported by scholarships and grants from individuals, grant-making bodies, and businesses. This enables them to train under Rupert Gough's direction as members of the Priory Church Choir.

Here are the details of the current team of singers:

Marie Macklin Marie Macklin, Soprano, was a girl chorister in Wells Cathedral Choir. The seven years Marie spent under the direction of Malcolm Archer provided her with an excellent foundation in the English choral tradition, which she continues to benefit from today. As well as being appointed Head Girl Chorister, another of Marie's achievements during this time was winning the BBC Radio 2 Choir Girl of the Year competition. This award gave Marie numerous solo television and radio performance opportunities, and a particular highlight was performing live on BBC 1 from the Royal Albert Hall before the Queen and millions of viewers.

Marie now sings professionally with a number of the country's finest ensembles, including Tenebrae, The Choir of the Enlightenment, Armonico Consort and Oxford Camerata, and she is also rapidly gaining in popularity as a song recitalist and oratorio soloist.

Recent solo highlights include a concert of operatic arias from Handel's Semele and Acis & Galatea with the Belsize Baroque orchestra; Bach's St John Passion with the Winchester Music Club; a recital of songs by Warlock, Ireland and Head; Mozart's Missa Solemnis and Vivaldi's Gloria with the Ealing Choral Society; and Vaughan Williams's Mass in G Minor with the Bath Choral Society.

Click here for more information about Marie Macklin and regular diary updates

Marie Macklin, who happens to be an American citizen, is generously supported as a member of at the Priory Church Choir by General Electric Company, with special thanks to Corey Anderson.

Click here for more information about General Electric

Hannah Ely, Soprano, read music at the University of Manchester, studying piano and voice. She went on to continue her piano studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with Douglas Finch, graduating with a distinction. During this time she also studied ensemble singing on the Sixteen's inaugural Genesis Sixteen scheme with Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan. Living in London, Hannah works as a pianist and soprano, performing with various ensembles. She is a core member of Siglo de Oro, the Erebus Ensemble and the Fieri Consort, of which she is a founding member and manager. She also deputizes for groups including The Sixteen, the Gabrieli Consort and Tenebrae. With the Fieri Consort she has performed several times on BBC Radio 3 and toured much of the UK and Australia. Hannah Ely

Cecily Beer Cecily Beer, Alto, leads a varied musical career in London as both professional singer and harpist. Her singing career began at the age of 16 as an inaugural member of The Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir, and she has since held positions in the Trinity College of Music Chorus, the Chapel Choir of Royal Holloway, the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Holst Singers.

Cecily has performed all over the world including Europe, The Middle East, Australasia, the French Polynesia and the USA. She has taken part in broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, as well as in several television musical appearances. One of her most notable performance was when she appeared as a guest recitalist in Kuwait City, performing as part of the British Council's Cultural Season at the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah in collaboration with the British Embassy of Kuwait.

Cecily has made various solo appearances with orchestras around the country performing an array of music including concerto works by Glière, Mozart, Ravel and Debussy. She currently holds the position of Resident Harpist at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel in Covent Garden, as well as being in high demand for weddings, receptions and corporate events. Such occasions have included performances at private engagements for Rolling Stones member, Ronnie Wood; the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; Time Out Magazine's New Year's Eve party at the Shard; and for Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Click here for more information about Cecily's work as a harpist

Nancy Cole, Alto, was brought up in Lancashire. She gained a choral scholarship to St Edmund Hall, Oxford University, to study Music. She then went on to study for a Masters at York University and a Graduate Diploma in singing at The Royal College of Music. In 2011-2012, Nancy was part of the inaugural year of The Sixteen's apprenticeship programme, Genesis Sixteen, lead by Harry Christophers. She has since sung regularly with the main British consort choirs, including The Sixteen, Tenebrae, The Gabrieli Consort, The Choir of the Enlightenment and Britten Sinfonia Voices. Nancy has a particular love of Baroque and Renaissance repertoire. She has performed in the Brighton Early Music Festival as a soloist in the opera La Liberazionne di Ruggiero by Francesa Caccini. She has a lute song duo and loves exploring madrigal and chamber repertoire. She has recorded with many ensembles including Tenebrae and The Sixteen, and also features on a one-per-part recording of Bach's St Matthew Passion with the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists for Signum Records. Nancy Cole

Edward Ross Edward Ross, Tenor, began singing as a treble chorister at the London Oratory School, where he became Head Chorister of the Schola directed by Mike McCarthy. He was later accepted into the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department as a horn player, and continued to develop his voice. Upon leaving the Academy, Edward joined the choir of St George's Cathedral, Southwark under Nick Gale, initially as a choral scholar and later as a Lay Clerk. During this time he began to sing for choirs in London and around the country, and became a regular for the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, the Victoria Consort in Kent, and the Choir of the Holy Redeemer, Chelsea.

Edward's solo engagements have included the Proms with the Chorus of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Marin Alsop, Handel's Messiah with the English Opera Company, and in concert at the Gulbenkian theatre, Canterbury, Mozart's Mass in C Minor, and Bach's St John's Passion and Mass in B Minor. He holds a scholarship to study singing on the Postgraduate programme at the Royal Academy of Music starting in September 2016.

Daniel Thomson, Tenor, graduated as Bachelor of Music (Honours) from the University of Melbourne in 2009. Having moved to London in April 2015, Daniel quickly established himself as an expressive and unique performer whilst working in Australia, Canada, England and other parts of Europe.

Daniel regularly deputises in many of London’s major church choirs and is a participant in the Philharmonia Chorus Student Scheme. He is also a core member of several professional groups including Dowland Works (with Dame Emma Kirkby), The Portrait Choir (choir in residence at the National Portrait Gallery, London) and Lux Musicae London – an up-and-coming ensemble of Daniel’s peers that perform madrigals in broken consort with instrumental divisions. Daniel also maintains a busy recital schedule and is known for his expressive interpretation of 16th and 17th century music, often accompanied by lute.

Daniel’s studies have had a particular focus on historically informed performance of music from the 16th to 19th centuries. He has worked in Canada on several recordings using historical, rhetoric-based methods of interpretation under the guidance of Professor Robert Toft at the University of Western Ontario. Currently, Daniel splits his time between Switzerland and London while he is undertaking a Master in Advanced Vocal Ensemble Studies at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Evelyn Tubb and Anthony Rooley.

Click here for more information about Daniel Thomson
Daniel Thomson

Christopher Dollins Christopher Dollins, Bass, was born in Gloucester and studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and The Royal Academy of Music, graduating with distinction; he currently studies with Glenville Hargreaves and Jonathan Papp.

Operatic roles include Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande) Nick Shadow (The Rake's Progress), Uberto (La Serva Padrona), Jonathan (Siren Song), Mr Gedge (Albert Herring), Doctor Spinelloccio (Gianni Schicchi) with Royal Academy Opera, and Harašta (The Cunning Little Vixen) for British Youth Opera's 2015 season, as well as working with Opera Holland Park for the 2016 summer season.

Christopher performs widely as a concert soloist and past performances include Bach's Magnificat and St John Passion, Dvorák's Mass in D, Garcia's Requiem, Handel's Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Mozart's Requiem and Coronation Mass, Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, Tippett's A Child of our Time and Bach's Christmas Oratorio as part of the Bach Kohn Foundation Cantata series. Consort work includes engagements with Polyphony, BBC Singers, Philarmonia Voices and London Festival Chorus. Competition highlights include winning the 2015 Rosenblatt Recitals Singing Prize, and reaching the Semi-Finals of the 2016 Royal Overseas League Competition.

Christopher has an interest in contemporary music, recent performances of which include John Hopkins's Cantata at the Michaelhouse Festival, Oliver Rudland's Yorkshire Songs in West Road Concert Hall, and the world premiere of Ivan Moody's Fables de la Fontaine with Fitzwilliam Chamber Opera.

Christopher is immensely grateful for the support of the Josephine Baker Trust.

Geoff Clapham, Bass, began his musical education whilst a chorister at Westminster Cathedral. During his time there he performed both as part of the choir and as a soloist in services, recordings, broadcasts and concerts around the world.

Later, and by now a bass-baritone, he won a Choral Scholarship to St John's College Cambridge where he read Music, graduating in 2013. In addition to his choir duties he performed in Cambridge as a song recitalist and oratorio soloist. Whilst there he also sung with the close harmony group the Gents of St John's, often as a soloist on record and in concert around the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan.

As well as singing at St Bartholomew the Great, Geoff freelances in London, often singing with Tenebrae and Westminster Cathedral Choir. He also enjoys a continued involvement as a soloist with the London based contemporary classical and electronic music crossover outfit Filthy Lucre.
Geoff Clapham
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