Oxford: Day 6

Our sixth day began with walking to New College to have our second intense part-reading session with Edward Higginbottom. This is the chapel where we had the session.


And we enter.


Ugh, take my breath away, will you.


Or, take everybody else’s as well.


The organ in all its glory.


Hey, hey, hey — Look at who it is? Singing you on Day 7 “Rejoice in the Lamb.”


Just beautiful.


Edward Higgenbottom helps us part read. A lot.


We get to sing here. No big deal….


A page of our wondrous part book.


The older stained glass. It’s lighter and somehow softer than the newer ones.

You see? A. Mazing. A lecture? In this place? Yes, it was absolutely unbelievable!

This chapel was originally built in 1379 to make good of what had happened in the wake of the Bubonic Plague. The stained glass in the back of the chapel was what was left of the original glass built in the time after the 17th-century Civil War and Reformation, which caused a lot of damage to many of the older church’s artifacts. And yet here was this chapel, still standing majestically with us basking in its beauty despite all it has been through over many years. Singing 16th-century vocal music here was eye-opening because it really gave us a sense of the lives of 16th-century choristers. I mean, such music was sung in chapels like this centuries ago, and yet both the building and the music are alive even today. I MEAN, HOW MIND-BLOWING IS THAT? That human beings can create and keep such beauty truly gives me hope for the future. We are not just creatures of destruction after all.

After the session, we were taken by Edward Higginbottom himself to the courtyard where we encountered a very familiar tree for many of us.

Oh. Yes.

It was the tree from the fourth movie of Harry Potter, most known for the particular scene in which bad boy Malfoy was turned into a ferret by Mad-Eye Moody. ALL the fan-girl screams. Of course, flashes from imaginary wands and real cameras ensued.




Underneath the Malfoy tree 😀



I mean, you can’t get more magical than that.

Well after this, my gorgeous friend Stephanie and I went on a field trip. Boy, did we walk a lot in the sweltering heat, but it was definitely worth it. Here is where we went and what we saw.

Oxford and all its wonders:





Animals we saw chillin’ in the heat.



Oh Oxford, you’re so beautiful!

Pretty neat, right?

Unfortunately, Steph and I traveled farther than we had planned and failed to return in time for Dean Abrahams’ session that afternoon. However, ladies and gentlemen, I have seen him teach many times before, and I know that he’s a great teacher. And those who know me understand that I don’t say this lightly. He has a lot to offer and he always makes sure to share 100 percent of his knowledge with his students. He was truly an integral part of making this entire trip possible as well. So of course his session was good.

The icing on the cake to this amazing day was the Britten recital, where I witnessed many of my Williamson family sing pieces composed and arranged by Benjamin Britten.  Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you that the Westminster Williamson Voices are really jam packed full of talented singers and wonderful people. I dozed off to sleep that night practically bursting with happiness, awe, and pride. I mean, I of all people- from a random city in Japan, by some funny twist of destiny and fate- get to sing with these people! I really could not ask for more in my life, and I know I’m extremely blessed to be able to say that.

Ah, I’m just so happy 🙂

About choralmusicinstitute

Presented by Westminster Choir College of Rider University and Oxford University's St. Stephen's House, the one-week institute provides instruction to all levels of conductors.
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