Chapel & Choir
Easter at Magdalen 2013
On Good Friday, Doric String Quartet will be performing Haydn's Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross.
On Holy Saturday, the Choir of Magdalen College will be singing Bach's St John Passion.
Follow this link for more information, or to book tickets, select 'Tickets' from the menu on the left.
Magdalen College Chapel
Magdalen College Chapel is among the most active in the University, with about fifteen services a week during Full Term. All are welcome to attend Chapel services: members of any religion or of none, members of Magdalen or not, regardless of official College opening hours. While the Chapel is here first and foremost to offer a place of worship for our students, fellows and staff, in reality our congregation extends far beyond these limits and includes many other people, some from other Oxford colleges, some from the local community, some from further afield. It can feel rather like going to services in a cathedral, but the atmosphere is more domestic and intimate.
The Dean of Divinity (which is what we call the College Chaplain) is the Revd Dr Michael Piret, and he is pastorally available to members of the College or of the congregation at any time. His room is in Cloisters 4:2. In addition to being responsible for chapel services, he also contributes to a broad range of activities taking place outside the chapel.
Seven services a week in Term are sung by the Choir, which is directed by Mr Daniel Hyde, who bears the ancient title Informator Choristarum. The Choir retains much the same shape as it had when it was founded in 1480, with sixteen boy Choristers (educated at Magdalen College School) and twelve adult Academical Clerks (undergraduates of the College). They have appeared frequently on television and radio and in the motion picture Shadowlands, and have sung to appreciative audiences all over the world. They have made a number of critically acclaimed recordings, one of which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2005. But their primary attention continues to be focussed on daily Chapel services, which they sing every evening in Full Term (except Mondays) at 6.00 pm, and every Sunday morning in Term at 11.00 am. The repertoire of settings for Evensong and the Mass ranges from works by John Sheppard (Informator Choristarum in the 16th century) to modern pieces by the previous Informator, Grayston Ives, who is a distinguished composer of sacred music. It is advisable to arrive five or ten minutes early for choral services, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. The Chapel Verger, Mrs Hilary Woodjetts, will direct you to a good seat.
Other services in Chapel are said - without the Choir - and these, like the choral services, are Anglican, bearing the imprint, as is the tradition at Magdalen, of the Oxford Movement or Catholic Revival of the 19th century. A simple morning service is held every weekday (Monday to Friday) at 8.30 am. Every Sunday night in Term the night-time monastic office of Compline is sung at 9 pm, followed by the medieval rite of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; at this service the plainchant singing is done by the congregation.
When Easter falls near the beginning or end of the College Term, the Choir sing services of the Easter Triduum.