Friday 16th February, Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum launch their new recording, ‘Our Lady Queen of Peace’. Schola Cantorum, which is Latin for ‘Singing School’, are a choir of boy choristers and men who sing the weekday Evensong services at Tewkesbury Abbey. The Choristers are all educated at Dean Close Preparatory School.
The recording features music from the Feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Feast days in the Abbey’s liturgical calendar are typically celebrated by two major services: a Eucharist and Solemn Evensong, and this recording includes the major musical items for both of these services. Jonathan Dove’s virtuosic setting of the Missa Brevis is the centrepiece of the morning Eucharist, together with a rare recording of Dupré’s Ave Maria for treble voices, and Poulenc’s hymn to the Virgin, Salve Regina.
Evensong is represented by the main musical parts of the service, including an introit, responses, psalm, canticles, anthem, and a setting of the Te Deum. It features the first recording of Emmanuel by Philip Moore - with includes an extensive part for a distant semichorus – on this occasion sung by the girls of the Dean Close School Chamber Choir.
The recording is brought to a triumphant close with organist, Carleton Etherington, giving a glittering performance of Flor Peeters’ major solo organ work Toccata, Fugue et Hymne sur Ave Maris Stella.
“Since we finished recording the album last summer, it has taken several months to edit the album. The choir and I are extremely proud of the standard we have achieved, especially as some of the material is very challenging and the youngest member of the choir is just 8 years of age.” explained Simon Bell, Director of Schola Cantorum.
Freddie, one of the choristers enthused, “This is my first experience of recording an album; I feel very excited about finally seeing the finished CD. Most of the music was familiar as we sing it at services in the Abbey throughout the year. The hard bit was having to repeat the same phrase several times until it was perfect, although that didn’t happen very often”.
Dean Close Preparatory School educates the Choristers for Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum. The boys rehearse 5 times a week and sing four weekday services of Evensong during term time at Tewkesbury Abbey. The Choristers benefit from an excellent academic and all-round education at the Preparatory School, as well as exceptional musical training.
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Dean Close Preparatory School is a co-educational day and boarding school for children age 7 – 13. The School is set in 50 acres of private land in the centre of Cheltenham. With 310 pupils, the Preparatory School is small enough to allow everyone to know one another and to get fully involved in the life of the School. DCPS offers Academic, Sports, Performing Arts and Creative Arts Scholarships at 11+ and educates the Choristers who sing Evensong at Tewkesbury Abbey.