Meet the Gentlemen of St John's
Bass (2014 - 2018)
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.
Bass, Organ Scholar (2017 - 2020)
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.
Tenor (2018 - 2019)
Jack was born on the 3rd of October 1995, in London. His parents like music, but do not do it professionally. He plays the cello, piano and bass guitar, though not to an unusually high standard. He has red hair, but then so do many others. He likes going to the pub and singing, neither of which is cause for either concern or excitement. Prior to singing in the Gents he sung in other choirs.He agrees that Brexit probably isn’t a good idea, though is yet to find time to investigate it himself. He eats meat despite being aware of the environmental consequences. Jack procrastinates. He watches shows on BBC iPlayer, has a Spotify Premium account, and a favourite sports team.
Bass (2018 - 2021)
Despite his origins in the depths of South-East London with tone-deaf parents, Tom managed to scrape together enough musicality to end up studying music at St John’s. He began singing along to The Beatles in the car but formally started at school. From there he dedicated all his free time to singing at Southwark Cathedral as a chorister - his musical high-point in life was as a 12-year-old, which was followed by a tragic downfall after the change of his voice. He proceeded to sing first Tenor at Junior Trinity despite that being two voice parts too high. He then left the comfortable realm of choral music to perform in the chorus of Blackheath Halls Opera. Tom's musical interests mainly lie in the deep voices of Russian choral music despite his incapability to sing anything resembling a low note.
Bass (2017 - 2020)
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.
Alto, Musical Director (2015 - 2019)
Kieran was born in 1993. Hugh was born in 1996. That, however, is the only discernible difference. Having been to Abingdon, Hugh justifiably feels wildly superior to other gents. His chocolatey countertenor has been described by Helen of Troy as ‘being kinda like that chick who launched a thousand boats, but less hot’. Outside of choir, Hugh enjoys foutons, exotic bathing and becoming intimately acquainted with Jesus (Green).
Alto (2017 - 2021)
Richard’s quest for fame began at the tender age of 13, when he proposed to a young lady on the One Show Christmas Special. He is very grateful no visual evidence remains of this brief encounter. Still relatively new to the countertenor voice, the novelty of correcting those who assume he sings Tenor or Bass has yet to wear off, and – public adolescent proposals now behind him – he hopes to make a name for himself as the world’s first coloratura alto. If you have any idea what that is, do get in touch. He’s at a loss. An MML student reading French and Italian, it took all of two weeks for doubts to creep in that Richard had made a terrible mistake when he was reliably informed that his pronunciation of a favourite piece of Fauré was “absolutely appalling.” He is beginning to suspect his native South London was not the best place to pick up an authentic accent. Whilst he loves being in the Gents, Richard was dismayed to find he was no longer automatically the sassiest, most fabulous man in the room. He hopes to spend the next few years regaining the title, and the tiara he assumes comes with it.
Tenor, Organ Scholar (2015 - 2019)
Given the number of wonderful accents in the Gents, and also the College’s position in East Anglia, Glen is disappointed that he has been unable to retain any of his native Suffolk vowel sounds. That being said, he often unintentionally inserts exotic diphthongs into words whilst singing. When he is not doing that, he can usually be found in the organ loft, where he indulges in his favourite pastimes of transposition, score-reading and pencil sharpening.
After spending a year playing the organ and drinking cider at Windsor Castle, Glen moved to Amsterdam on a whim and studied the organ further at a church in the heart of the Red Light District. He feels slightly prepared for life in the Gents as a result of these experiences. His other interests include searching for hitherto undiscovered functions on his scientific calculator, and pretending to know what he’s talking about generally.
Alto (2018 - 2021)
Alec began his singing career as a treble at St Johns and, after being ‘robbed’ (or so he claims) of head chorister, he was determined to prove himself as either a tenor or a bass in the back rows. Much to his dismay, Alec found himself singing counter-tenor, and many commented on how similar his ‘new voice’ sounded to his treble voice. He is adamant that his voice did, in fact, break, but others are not so sure…Aside from singing, Alec enjoys wearing tracksuits and not being able to see anything properly from under his hair.
Tenor (2014 - 2018)
Benedict rejoins the Gents after six months as a DJ at a local, yet European, radio station in Pays de la Loire. Before that he spent three months in Paris teaching ‘Very Early Learners’ how to say the word ‘Yellow’ and forgetting that they had gone to the toilet. His arguments with mothers at the school gate gained him respect and admiration from his colleagues. Benedict now divides his time between translating into French the works of Britpop sensation ‘Jarvis Cocker’, and investigating the reasons behind the 14 year hiatus of the lesser-known English singer-songwriter John Cunningham. He lives for the weekend.
Bass (2016 - 2019)
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.
Bass (2016 - 2019)
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.
Tenor, Assistant Director (2015 - 2019)
Having been an unsuccessful treble and then subsequent alto in his early secondary school days, Gopal’s voice eventually did just about break and he came to discover the wonders of the numerous subtleties of belting loudly as a tenor. Whilst originally he planned to get by in Cambridge under the pretence of dabbling in some French and Spanish, he ‘saw the light’ and now attempts to study for a Music degree in an equally futile manner. He can often be found by the other Gents being a connoisseur of cheese or asking people what the date is.
Tenor, Treasurer (2017 - 2020)
Henry Laird was extracted from Middlesbrough at the age of 8 and shaved by several monks. With them he lived in rough moorland for the next 10 years, a period in which he became well-versed in 21 st century parlance and contemporary form-filling. His vow of chastity was very easy to keep during this time. It was only following receipt of his unconditional offer to join the Gents that he found himself surrounded by legions of Cornish men and woman all clamouring after his coarse habit. Henry’s solemn way of life was fascinating to the people of Truro, who appointed him their King. 500 years later, Henry IX rode through the Great Gate of St John’s College Cambridge. He has never ceased to be appalled by ‘degeneracy-run-ryfe’ and the meagre amounts of beefe consumed within the college walls. He is often to be found on the Wren Bridge taking advantage of the college’s swan-spearing licence.
Bass, Manager (2017 - 2020)
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.
Alto (2018 - 2020)
There is very little to be said about Laurence. He is a second year music student at St Johns, who joins the Gents after spending a year singing with the choir of Jesus College. He is incapable of meeting any kind of deadline, and this includes multiple deadlines for the submission of a biography. However, the lack of biography may simply be indicative of how little there is of note to be said about this particular Gent.
Tenor (2016 - 2019)
Louis started his singing at Hampton Court Palace as a chorister in the Chapel Royal. As a treble he once recorded a solo on a track for the rock band U2, gaining him at least a few days’ worth of fame. Despite not having grown much taller since his treble days, he continued his singing and enjoyed a Gap Year as a Choral Scholar at Truro Cathedral where he became best friends with the smoke alarm whenever attempting to prepare delicious feasts. He joins several Gents in reading Music at John’s although his real passions lie with supporting his local team AFC Wimbledon (a team overshadowed by a poncy tennis competition), and also explaining the riveting, heart-warming story of the club’s history. He has also been known to “love the Maypole” from time to time.
Alto (2018 - 2019)
Tom started his journey playing sport until he was 14 years of age, at which point decided to give singing a go. Little did he know the joke was on him when he was asked to sing alto at school whilst representing the 1st XV Rugby team of his College. This son of a Navy Engineer stayed true to his home city of Portsmouth when he spent a Gap year singing in Portsmouth Cathedral as a choral scholar. Unfortunately, even now Tom still creates words in psalms that frankly don’t exist, testing the ear (and patience) of the director of music. Away from the chapel, Tom enjoys eating large portions of food and learning electric guitar in a last-ditch effort to be considered ‘cool’ before he plans to spend a lifetime singing in cathedrals.