The Singers

James Adams (2014-2018)

  • Bass

Originally an extremely mediocre treble, James turned up at St John’s already having spent a year in East Anglia, like many others trying to improve his repertoire at Norwich Cathedral. He was successful in this, but only in terms of his repertoire of Adnams’ ales, which is now unparalleled. He is not in fact musical at all, and is sure that his three out of twenty one in a grade eight sight singing exam will be noticed by someone, but until then will make the most of his time in the choir. James’s hobbies include being mistaken for Ron Weasley and travelling ‘executive class’; when not in choir, he can be found staring at copies of the Tractatus in the vague hope that some of it will go in, or in his own personal hell.

James Anderson-Besant (2017-2020)

  • Bass
  • Organ

Born in ‘the other place,’ James grew up in close proximity to a helicopter base. Sadly this aural onslaught had a devastating impact on his singing voice, so he took up the organ instead. Really an engineer in pitiful disguise as a musician, James has often attempted to hide his dark past as a creator of Lego keyboard instruments, but to no avail. After extensive modification in brick, the chapel organ can now cook pasta and, for James’ own health, closely monitor his enthusiasm for St John’s psalmody. James spent a gap year at Gloucester Cathedral, where he set a world record for the loudest sneeze ever recorded in a sacred building. His interests include the fauxbourdon canticle settings of Philip Moore and the art of apologising from the organ loft.

Jamie Conway (2017-2020)

  • Bass

Jamie’s singing began in the glorious city of Gloucester, a place he widely advocates as “really lovely – better than it first seems…” Like several other Gents he spent a year before coming to St John’s brushing up on all those favourite Anglican tunes at Truro Cathedral, which mainly comprised of getting to know Cornwall’s innumerable beaches, pubs and curry houses. His first choral scholarship also gave him a prime opportunity to pretend to also be “an organist,” something which he reminds the John’s organ scholars on a daily basis. A member of Robinson College, he takes full advantage of the ability to dodge social events on the excuse that he commitments elsewhere, when actually he’s in bed procrastinating any form of mental engagement.

Matthew Gibson (2016-2019)

  • Bass

William Wallace, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alex Ferguson are among those to have been born in the city of Glasgow. This is where any similarities between them and Matthew end. Steeped in treachery most foul, having been a chorister at King’s College, Matthew continues his evolution from mediocre treble into mediocre baritone with much enthusiasm. He hopes that the impression that he knows anything at all about music, which he currently studies, can be maintained long enough for him to emerge from university with some sort of qualification. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys trying to grow facial hair and to talk to girls.

Simon Grant (2016-2019) – Treasurer

  • Bass

Simon spent a year as a Choral Scholar at Truro Cathedral where he developed his skills in apologising for not being able to sing low enough in a professional setting. Simon now spends a lot of time muddling through the identity crisis that comes from being a member of the choir that comes from “Not St. John’s” College, Cambridge. He has decided to learn how to look at, and sometimes write, a lot of dots and lines on a page.

Outside the choir, he enjoys doing stuff that he wants to do, and is enthusiastic about various methods of transport, including bicycles, and bouncing. His whisky preference is currently those distilled in northern mainland Japan, but he has been known to drink those from other areas, including Scotland. Simon would like to visit Iceland at some point.

Piers Kennedy (2016-2018)

  • Bass

Piers Kennedy has very few if any distinctive features. Researchers compiling anecdotal evidence now largely agree that Piers once studied something somewhere. When casting a wistful eye along the ranks of distinguished gents, it has sometimes been heard of an onlooker to remark “Who’s that bloke?” – that’s probably Piers.

When not in the pub, Piers enjoys singing. It has been recorded that Piers enjoys spending large portions of his time in the choir imagining forking a poached egg, before occasionally being prompted to sing a low note, with much gravitas and finesse*. Impressively, Piers can usually complete most of a non-cryptic crossword with a bit of help.

*Finesse may vary; see Terms and Conditions.^
^Terms and Conditions: there is no finesse.

Will O’Brien (2017-2020)

  • Bass

One of three Gents to hail from depths of Suffolk, Will has been singing from a young age, and thus it would be understandable to expect a half-decent standard of sight reading. Alas, this is not the case. After singing in 3 operas as a treble, Will decided that opera involved far too much movement and thus began to explore the rather more static world of cathedral music. Will spent his Gap year at Gloucester Cathedral as a choral scholar, in an attempt to increase his knowledge of repertoire, with moderate success. In addition to singing, Will attempts to make some acceptable sounds on the French horn and Piano (with limited success). Outside of music, Will enjoys avid binge-watching of the Great British Bake Off, as well as increasing his knowledge of herbal tea and its many variants.

James Quilligan (2017-2018)

  • Bass

A remarkably tall gent, James’ formative years were spent as a treble, flitting between the various choirs of Cambridge. Upon realising his mediocrity, he cut his losses and moved to Manchester where he successfully watched the entire series of Scrubs, twice (except season 9 because it was terrible and no-one counts that). Prior to returning to Cambridge, James spent several years in London singing very loudly and doing ‘admin’ until a fellow Gent suggested he’d be better served singing very loudly at St John’s. Whilst in Cambridge James is looking forward to exploring the vast beer offering at the Maypole, playing dress up, and staring enviously at Piers and his subsonic rumblings.