Skip to main content

History of the Choirs

History of the Choirs

A choir was founded at the then Royal Holloway College in 1886 for women's voices, to sing daily services in the Ceccardo Fucigna-designed Chapel. It continued as such until 1965, when men were admitted to Royal Holloway, whereupon the choir became an SATB ensemble. Royal Holloway is the only university in Great Britian still maintaining the tradition of daily sung morning worship.

Under the supervision of Professor Lionel Pike, then College Organist, the current organ - a significant improvement on the former Victorian instrument - was installed in 1978 by Harrison and Harrison of Durham, and choral music at Royal Holloway began to take shape as we know it. Upon the retirement of Professor Lionel Pike, Rupert Gough was appointed Director of Choral Music & College Organist in 2005.

In 2006 the choral structure was altered to accommodate the Chapel Choir (consisting of Choral Scholars) and the Chamber Choir, both responsible for maintaining the weekly schedule of services in the College Chapel. Under Rupert’s directorship the Chamber Choir undertook tour to Italy (2007), Spain (2008) and Germany/Austria (2010). in 2010 the Chamber Choir re-branded itself the Founder's Choir acknowledging is roots in the College's history and the affection held by its members for Royal Holloway's distinctive Founder's Building. 

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today