It has been in existence since 1348 and, with the exception of the Commonwealth period (1649–1660), has sung services in the Chapel continuously ever since.
The Quire of St George's Chapel, by Charles Wild, from W.H. Pyne's Royal Residences, 1818.
The choir today
The choir comprises up to 23 boy choristers (5 of whom are probationers or training choristers) and 12 professional Lay Clerks, singing Countertenor, tenor and bass.. The Choir sings at Evensong each day (except Wednesdays) and twice on Sunday mornings during the three terms of the College year. The choristers are educated at St George's School, Windsor Castle which is situated in the Castle grounds. The Lay Clerks live in the Horseshoe Cloister and on Denton's Commons.
The choir sings regularly in the presence of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. Significant recent events have included:
Mark Wardell 1990–1991 (later Assistant Organist of Chichester Cathedral)
Jonathan Lilley 1991–1992 (later Sub-Organist at Leeds Parish Church; then Assistant Organist at Ely Cathedral; currently Organist of Waltham Abbey Church)
Christopher Allsop 1992–1993 (afterwards Trinity College, Cambridge; assistant at St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham; currently Assistant Organist of Worcester Cathedral)
Matthew Raisbeck 1993–1994
Greg Morris 1994–1995 (currently Associate Organist Temple Church, London)
Iain Farrington 1995–1996 (then Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge)
Myles Hartley 1996–1997
Teilhard Scott 1997–1999
Jonathan Vaughn 1999–2000 (afterwards Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge; then Assistant Organist of Wells Cathedral)
Robert Kwan 2000–2001 (Assistant to the Organist-Choirmaster, Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Westport, CT; currently Director of Music, Trinity Episcopal Church, Southport, CT, USA)
Francesca Massey 2001–2002 (Acting Assistant Organist September–December 2001; afterwards Organ Scholar of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; currently Sub-Organist of Durham Cathedral)
Tom Winpenny 2002–2003 (Acting Assistant Organist; then Organ Scholar of King's College, Cambridge; then Sub-Organist, St Paul's Cathedral; currently Assistant Master of the Music, St Albans Cathedral)
Henry Parkes 2003–2004 (Acting Assistant Organist September–December 2003; then Organ Scholar of Christ Church, Oxford; later Associate Director of Music All Saints, Margaret Street, London)
Ben Giddens 2004–2005 (afterwards Organ Scholar Norwich Cathedral; subsequently Acting Assistant Organist at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle; later Assistant Organist Magdalen College, Oxford)
Peter Stevens 2005–2006 (afterwards Organ Scholar of King's College, Cambridge; currently Assistant Master of Music, Westminster Cathedral)
John Challenger 2006–2008 (afterwards Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge; currently Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral)
Laurence Williams 2008–2009 (afterwards Choral Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge; currently Assistant Organist at Waltham Abbey Church)
Alexander Binns 2009–2010 (afterwards studied organ at the Royal Academy of Music, London whilst Organ Scholar at Marylebone Parish Church, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and Southwark Cathedral, currently Assistant Director of Music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral)
Ben Bloor 2010–2011 (afterwards Organ Scholar of New College, Oxford; later Organ Scholar of Westminster Cathedral; currently Organist of the London Oratory, Brompton)
Adam Mathias 2011–2012 (afterwards Organ Scholar of Emmanuel College, Cambridge)
Joseph Beech 2012–2013 (afterwards studied organ at the Royal Academy of Music, London, whilst Organ scholar of Brompton Oratory and then St Paul's Cathedral; currently Assistant Master of the Music, St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh)
Glen Dempsey 2013–2014 (currently Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge)
Alexander Hamilton 2014–2015 (afterwards Organ Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge; currently Organ Scholar of Westminster Abbey)
Asher Oliver 2015–2016 (currently Organ Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge)
Benjamin Newlove 2016–2017 (undergraduate organ studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London, whilst Organ Scholar of St Michael's Church, Cornhill and St. Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge)
Jason Richards 2017–2018 (currently Organ Scholar of Jesus College, Cambridge)
^ An entry for Graham Elliott which formerly appeared here has been removed in the light of the following statement which was inserted by Peter J Williams: "Graham Elliott was NOT an Organ Scholar but a private pupil of Dr Sidney Campbell. I went in 1964 as a private PA to Dr. Campbell and then became the first Organ Scholar, along with John Porter who stayed on when I went to be Assistant Organist at York Minster 1966. Many of these dates are wrong!"
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (30 September 1852 – 29 March 1924) was an Irish composer, music teacher, and conductor. Born to a well-off and highly musical family in Dublin, Stanford was educated at the University of Cambridge before studying music in Leipzig and Berlin. He was instrumental in raising the status of the Cambridge University Musical Society, attracting international stars to perform with it.
While still an undergraduate, Stanford was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1882, aged 29, he was one of the founding professors of the Royal College of Music, where he taught composition for the rest of his life. From 1887 he was also Professor of Music at Cambridge. As a teacher, Stanford was sceptical about modernism, and based his instruction chiefly on classical principles as exemplified in the music of Brahms. Among his pupils were rising composers whose fame went on to surpass his own, such as Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. As a conductor, Stanford held posts with the Bach Choir and the Leeds triennial music festival.
Stanford composed a substantial number of concert works, including seven symphonies, but his best-remembered pieces are his choral works for church performance, chiefly composed in the Anglican tradition. He was a dedicated composer of opera, but none of his nine completed operas has endured in the general repertory. Some critics regarded Stanford, together with Hubert Parry and Alexander Mackenzie, as responsible for a renaissance in music from the British Isles. However, after his conspicuous success as a composer in the last two decades of the 19th century, his music was eclipsed in the 20th century by that of Edward Elgar as well as former pupils.
Gordon Lorenz (4 March 1943 – 5 June 2011) was an English songwriter and record producer, who made his fame by writing the UK Christmas number one hit "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" for St Winifred's School Choir. Since the song's release, Lorenz became one of the most prolific record producers in the music industry, producing over 800 albums selling eight million records, and earning seventeen platinum, gold and silver discs.
Nathaniel Giles (1558 – 1633 or 1634) was an English Renaissance organist and composer. He was the organist for Worcester Cathedral and wrote Anglican anthems.
While Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal he took over Blackfriars Theatre in a business arrangement with producer Henry Evans and there he worked with Ben Jonson on a children's company. Giles had the power under a royal warrant to impress children for service in the Chapel Royal. He allowed Evans and others to use the warrant to legally abduct children not for service as choir boys, but to work in the their theatre. When in 1600 they abducted the son of a nobleman, this led to the Clifton Star Chamber Case.He was also a master of the Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and an organist at Westminster Abbey.
His Te Deum (Durham Cathedral manuscript A2, folio 56) has instructions for the organist to play an octave lower than written, and one assumes this is to give the 'dark' sonority of a 10 ft organ stop rather than the everyday colour of the standard 5 ft Principal stop of the Tudor organ. His Vestigia mea dirige was included in the manuscript collection known as the Dow Partbooks.
His son, Nathaniel Giles became a Canon of Windsor.
St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England, is a chapel designed in the high-medieval Gothic style. It is both a Royal Peculiar, a church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch, and the Chapel of the Order of the Garter. Seating approximately 800, it is located in the Lower Ward of the castle.
St. George's castle chapel was established in the 14th century by King Edward III and began extensive enlargement in the late 15th century. It has been the location of many royal ceremonies, weddings and burials. Windsor Castle is a principal residence for Queen Elizabeth II.
The day-to-day running of the Chapel is the responsibility of the Dean and Canons of Windsor who make up the religious College of St George, which is directed by a Chapter of the Dean and four Canons, assisted by a Clerk, Virger (traditional spelling of verger) and other staff. The Society of the Friends of St George's and Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, a registered charity, was established in 1931 to assist the College in maintaining the Chapel.
St George's School, Windsor Castle is a coeducational independent preparatory school in Windsor, near London, England. Founded to provide choirboys for the Choir of St George's Chapel, it now educates over 400 boys and girls.
"The Lord bless you and keep you" is a classical sacred choral composition by John Rutter. It is a setting of a biblical benediction, followed by an extended "Amen". Rutter scored the piece for four vocal parts (SATB) and organ. He composed it in 1981 for the memorial service of Edward T. Chapman, the director of music at Highgate School, London, with whom he had studied when he attended the school.It was published by Oxford University Press in 1981, in the anthology Oxford Easy Anthems, edited by David Willcocks.
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