Skip to main content

History of the Choirs

Search Royal Holloway

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