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8th Week HT24 Newsletter - Christopher Churcher

Each week, the OUMS newsletter features an interview with someone who positively contributes to the Oxford music scene. This week, we turned the tables and Evie Brenkley sat down with the outgoing OUMS Secretary Christopher Churcher, to ask about his year in the role, as well as his work outside of Oxford as a composer and singer. 


Christopher Churcher

Composer, Singer, and outgoing OUMS Secretary


Tell us a bit about yourself!

Hello! I'm Christopher, and over the past year, I've had the pleasure of compiling nearly thirty interviews with talented musicians across the university for my term-time newsletters. Currently in my second year studying music at Lady Margaret Hall, I enjoy singing as a baritone with Somerville College Choir and Schola Cantorum of Oxford, as well being the manager of Oxford University Chorus. Beyond my university life, I'm mostly known as a composer, working as a freelancer with ensembles across the country. 


What are you working on at the moment?

The conclusion of this term has seen a number of my projects come to fruition. Last Friday, OUChorus presented its termly concert at Christ Church Cathedral—an  ambitious programme executed with great success! This week I'm also singing with Schola for our HT concert 'Peace on Earth', and on Wednesday I'm looking forward to joining Instruments of Time and Truth for a performance of the St. John Passion as part of Somerville Choir. I'm especially excited to sing the arioso "Betrachte, meine Seel", which is one of my favourite moments from the Passion. 

After the whirlwind of eighth week, I'm set to be the composer-in-residence for the Ludlow English Song Weekend during the vac, and I also have to compose an exciting new commission which will be recorded for Somerville Choir's upcoming album in ninth week next term. So, there's plenty of composing on the horizon too!


What has your musical highlight been at Oxford so far? Selecting just one highlight is challenging with so many to consider. Yet, if I had to single out one moment for its sheer ambition and grandeur, managing (and reestablishing) Oxford University Chorus for the OUPhil x OUChorus concert last term featuring Mahler's Symphony No.2 was simply exhilarating: coordinating a chorus of 120 singers in the grand setting of the Sheldonian, for such an epic piece of music. Tackling the logistics of such an endeavour was a huge undertaking, but the result made it all worthwhile. It remains a concert spoken of in hushed tones.


What was your proudest achievement as the secretary of OUMS? 

I've thoroughly enjoyed my position as secretary. One achievement that stands out to me is consistently delivering a weekly newsletter without fail – a task that has definitely demanded some dedication! Additionally, I was really proud to play a role in spearheading the OUMS Diversity in Music project, working closely with Evie and the Alternative Canon Project. I'm proud to have made a contribution to promoting diverse programming within our ensembles at Oxford.


Where can you see yourself going in the future? In short, I see my future revolving around furthering my journey as a composer. When I graduate from Oxford, I'd love to go straight into freelancing as a professional composer, so I'm currently working on establishing a solid foundation for my craft. Additionally, I've loved getting into choral singing whilst at Oxford, so I'd love to continue to sing with choirs as part of my professional life too! 


Give us a music recommendation! 

I'm always listening to all sorts, but my current recommendation would be anything by the London-based indie folk band, Flyte. I loved their recent self-titled album, but my favourite track by them is probably "Never Get To Heaven" from their 2021 album This is Really Going To Hurt.






To find out more about the OUMS newsletter and our interviews, email the new OUMS Secretary Annie Horan at secretary@oums.co.uk.

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