Choir is Southwark Cathedral's
voluntary choir for young men and women with good
sight-reading skills and a creative approach to singing. It
offers a unique opportunity for singers to take part in
cathedral services (notably the Cathedral's monthly Compline
and Evensong services)
concerts in the cathedral (thrice yearly),
other secular events such as livery company dinners and
This website includes extensive audio recordings of the choir, including services, concert performances, interviews and members talking about the choir.
The Merbecke Choir was privileged to start 2015 with a trip to sing at Canterbury Cathedral on 4th January: we were made to feel wonderfully welcome. We look forward to returning there soon.
HEAR US — BOOK US
The Hearus page features complete audio recordings of two recent concerts, and excerpts from many others.
See the Book us page
for details of how the Merbecke Choir could
The choir's repertoire ranges widely in period as as well as
style, from plainsong to music of the present day. See the Hear
us page for past and future concert programmes and
click-to-play audio excerpts.
Visit the Join
us page for details of entry criteria and auditions.
Merbecke Choir sings Compline in Southwark Cathedral on the
4th Sunday of each month at 6.30
Click below for current and past lists of services and concerts featuring
the Merbecke Choir
Thank you to all who came to support us at our Summer concert and our visit to Westminster Abbey (above). Our Christmas concert is on 5 December and our first Compline of term is on 27 September. Please watch this space for further details.
Click below for details of the Merbecke Choir's CD, The Shadow of Thy Wings.
AUDIO AND VIDEO
The main audio player includes tracks from the choir's 2011 tour to France.
The performances of Victoria's Ave Regina Coelorum and The Word of the Cross by Huw Morgan were recorded in La Madeleine, Paris. Victoria's Pueri Hebraeorum and Vere Languores were recorded in Rouen Cathedral. The latter track includes an impromptu performance by the cathedral bells.
Click below for
the Merbecke Choir's You Tube page,
featuring more than twenty videos
The choir would welcome potential sponsors for their termly
concerts. Your generous support would allow our young musicians
the chance to experience performing alongside exciting artists
such as His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts,
and would create a wonderful evening's entertainment for you
and your guests. For further details and rates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The pictures below were taken during the choir's trip to St David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire in April 2013. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, generously wrote a new Prayer for St David specially for this trip, which was set to music by Huw Morgan - you can hear a recording of the first performance on the audio player at the foot of this page.
CAROL ANN DUFFY
This picture was taken at an evening of poetry reading hosted by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, at which the choir provided musical interludes, including a setting of her poem Epiphany composed for the occasion by Huw Morgan. The choir has recently also provided music at an evening hosted by Poet in the City, celebrating the poetry of Dante.
The photograph below
was taken during the recording of Her Majesty the Queen's Christmas
Message in 2006, which was recorded in Southwark Cathedral and
which included a performance by the Merbecke Choir.
Click on the photograph to
see the broadcast on YouTube: the choir's contribution begins
The third director of the Merbecke Choir, Huw
Morgan, continues the work of his predecessors, Ian
Keatley and David Pipe,
to develop a young choir that works to the highest standards
in keeping with the English cathedral tradition.
Huw Morgan is a Royal-Academy-trained
conductor and composer whose careful teaching of phrasing through
the Merbecke Choir's core polyphonic
repertoire also enables his singers to produce intelligent and
beautifully polished performances of 20th and 21st century music.
Click below for Huw Morgan's website.
pictures below were taken during the Merbecke Choir's summer
concert 2009 in Southwark Cathedral, in the presence of Archbishop
Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
Photos courtesy of Southwark Cathedral.
The Choir is named after the Tudor composer, John
who composed one of the most popular settings of the Book
of Common Prayer Communion Service.
Merbecke, with three other companions,
was tried for heresy in 1543 in the Retrochoir at Southwark,
which was used for this purpose at the time. He was found guilty
and condemned to be burned at the stake. His sentence was commuted
however by Bishop Stephen Gardiner, the then Bishop of Winchester,
who decided that as a mere musician Merbecke 'knew no better'
and so was released to continue his music making.
Click on the image on the right
for further information on the Society of Archbishop Justus website.