Ahead of the exciting visit from the Queens’ College Chapel Choir next week I caught up with Carlos Rodriguez to find out more about what to expect from the performance as well as Carlos’ advice to aspiring Oxbridge applicants.
Carlos tells me he’s most looking forward to the tour as they’ll be singing lots of their favourite music. “Our programme includes staples of our repertoire such as Howells’ Take him, Earth, for cherishing, Harris’ Faire is the Heaven and Holst’s Nunc Dimittis. But it’s also a varied programme with music by the Renaissance composer Palestrina and the baroque composer Purcell, so our recital will be broad enough to fit several musical genres and styles.” He tells me he’s particularly looking forward to singing “Bruckner’s (huge) Christus factus est in the wonderful cathedral space!”
As well as their performance in the cathedral the choir will also be able to explore Bradford, many of them for the first time. “We’ve been told that the curry-houses are a must! But apart from Bradford’s culinary delights, I’m most looking forward to singing among friends in the beautiful cathedral, and meeting some members of the cathedral community to answer questions about choral singing, Queens’ College and Cambridge!”
I asked Carlos what his favourite thing about being part of Queens’ College Chapel Choir was, and he was particularly enthusiastic about the friendships he has made being a part of the choir- “by regularly singing services together, a mixture of different people and personalities becomes a close, supportive group of friends—many for life.” Carlos muses that being a member of the choir is a great stress relief for the Cambridge students- “There’s nothing better than letting go of all the stresses of a busy university day by having a good old sing!”
“But really, I could say so much more: the sheer beauty of the music and the services, the opportunities to socialise, the tours…”
Finally I asked Carlos if he had any advice for young people wanting to get into Oxbridge universities, to which Carlos had to say “Firstly, if you want to apply, you should go for it! Don’t worry about whether you will fit in or whether it’s for ‘people like me’—I think we all worry about that before coming and then are delighted to find that Oxbridge isn’t as scary as we thought.”
Carlos enthuses “On the contrary! Colleges are vibrant places that present so many opportunities to have fun and to explore all sorts of interests as part of a welcoming academic community. Secondly, I’d encourage applicants to any university honestly to be themselves and welcome opportunities to be pushed, challenged and broadened. University can help us understand ourselves other people and our world better, and I am really grateful to have had a taste of that at Queens’.”
Following the performance on Wednesday 11th there will be an optional 30-minute talk to encourage and inform young people about the benefits of, and routes into, Cambridge and Oxford Universities, so if you want to find out more as well as listening to some beautiful choral music then this is the perfect opportunity!