James O’Donnell, Organist & Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey to play Inaugural Organ Recital on 28 November 2013

Hampton Court Palace 28/5/ 2013: We are delighted to announce that James O’Donnell, Organist & Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey will play an Inaugural Organ Recital on 28 November 2013 at 7:45 PM on the Chapel’s Shrider-Hill Organ, which is being overhauled by the organ-building firm Harrison & Harrison of Durham.  Tickets are £10 and will be sold on the Historic Royal Palaces website from 1 July.

This instrument was originally built by Christopher Shrider in 1711, and the instrument today still contains eleven ranks of pipes from that organ. The splendid case may well be by Grinling Gibbons whose work can be found elsewhere in the Palace. The organ was enlarged on several occasions between 1840 to 1901 by the firm of William Hill and Son, one of the most highly rated and experienced British organ builders of the time. Other firms carried out work in 1957, 1972 and 1993.

The principal work at Hampton Court is mechanical, and involves the replacement of the action and transmission – the vital connections between the keys and the pipes. The construction of the key-action started back in January.  Harrison and Harrison will also improve the layout of the interior, and undertake minor tonal changes – including the removal of the electronic stops which can be seen to be an anachronism in an historic organ. It is anticipated that the work will be completed by July.  After the Inaugural Recital in November, a series of weekly organ recitals will commence.

Work on the organ was made possible through the support of The Choral Foundation, registered charity number: 1142075, company number 7542466.

The Choral Foundation aims to raise funds to provide musical training for the choristers and to ensure that the 500 year old musical heritage of The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace will continue for future generations.


Behind the great pipes of the Shrider-Hill organ, overhaul work commences

John Pickles, Lost Coronation Chorister Found!

John Pickles, Lost Coronation Chorister Found!

Coronation Choristers Celebrate with The Chapel Royal

The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace 2/6/2013: John Pickles one of the four Coronation choristers from The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court was discovered living near Balmoral in Aberdeenshire last week.  He drove down to The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court to join former choristers Alan Sanders and Nigel Palk to commemorate the Coronation on Sunday 2 June.   The former choristers had not seen each other for 60 years!  Also present was Fellow Hampton Court chorister, Anthony Alderton, who was first reserve in case anyone became ill.

There were other former choristers who joined in the celebrations: Mr Louis Halsey, a member of the Chapel Royal congregation who sang alto at the Coronation as a choral scholar from Trinity College Cambridge, Kingston resident, Christopher Herrick, who was a coronation chorister from St Paul’s Cathedral and Reverend David Swarbrigg, a former chorister at St Patrick’s Cathedral who was selected to sing at the Coronation but was kept home due to an asthma attack.

There was a special Evensong service at 3:30 PM at The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace on Sunday 2 June to mark the occasion.

A private celebration tea for the choir, hosted by The Choral Foundation with support from Historic Royal Palaces Memories Team took place at the palace after Evensong.  Memorabilia from the Coronation Choir was on display and the Coronation Choristers had a chance to talk to current choristers about what life was like as a chorister sixty years ago.

One of the former choristers told of his “initiation” into the choir :  He was ushered to the Kings Staircase by the other choristers and told to walk to the top on his own where unbeknown to him, another chorister was hiding in the shadows with a torch and sprang out, making ghostly noises; he ran all the way home!  Another former chorister said that “the choirboys used to hide behind a door in the evenings and make moaning and mournful noises to scare unsuspecting tourists.  Thankfully there are no more such initiations nor pranks on visitors.  And today, Hampton Court has a Choral Foundation, the charity that is ensuring that local boys continue to be trained as choristers at Hampton Court Palace.  The value of this training was reinforced by one of the former choristers who “attributed his success in public life to having sung solos in the choir!”

Former and current choristers were very proud to be part of a day of national celebration and choristers are honoured to still serve Her Majesty today.

The Choral Foundation is a registered charity which is raising £1.5m to ensure that the 500 year old musical heritage of The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace will continue for future generations to enjoy.


Contact: Cathy Breeze


07799 414682

Coronation Choristers - John Pickles, Alan Sanders, Nigel Palk and Tony Alderton

Coronation Choristers – John Pickles, Alan Sanders, Nigel Palk and Tony Alderton



Come Along to Our Organ Recitals — 24 Feruary and 17 March at 1PM

We are delighted to announce that there will be two half-hour organ recitals beginning at 1PM on 24 February and 17 March in the Chapel Royal.   The first on 24 February will be played by Rufus Frowde, Organist of The Chapel Royal.  The second recital will be played by by Carl Jackson,  the Director of Music. The programme will be announced on the day and each piece will be given a brief introduction by the organist.  There is no charge to enter the chapel.

The chapel organ was built in 1711 by Christopher Schrider and many famous composers and organists have played the organ down through the centuries including Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel. It has been refurbished over the years and will soon be undergoing a major overhaul in April 2013.  A member of the Choral Foundation will be on hand  at the recitals to provide information about other concerts, recitals and events in the chapel.  The Choral Foundation is a registered charity which is working to raise funds to pay for the maintenance of the organ and to ensure that the musical heritage of The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace will continue for future generations. 








Concert of Vocal and Choral Music – Countertenor James Bowman, 8 March at 7:45 PM

World renowned countertenor James Bowman CBE will be headlining a concert at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace on Friday 8 March at 7:45. Mr Bowman is appearing to support the fundraising efforts of the Choral Foundation.

James Bowman will be singing English songs from Dowland to Britten and will
be joined by the choristers of the Hampton Court Chapel Royal who will sing
excerpts from Britten’s Missa Brevis, conducted by Carl Jackson. 

Tickets may be booked on the Historical Royal Palaces website for £40 at http://goo.gl/0cIBU Tickets are also available for £25, which may have a restricted view.  To obtain £25 tickets (which are not available online)please telephone the Historic Royal Palaces booking line on 0844 482 7795.

Doors will open at 7:15 PM.  For more details, please click here.

Happy New Year to All from The Choir!


Happy New Year to All from The Choir!

The choristers have returned from their Christmas break and are singing Matins at 11AM and Evensong at 3:30PM on Sundays from 13 January 2013. All are welcome to attend!

The next concert in The Chapel Royal will be on Friday 8 March at 7:45 PM and feature renowned countertenor James Bowman. Tickets for this concert will go on sale on Thursday 17 January on The Historical Royal Palaces website.

Remember a Loved One at Christmas Time

The Christmas Angel is a unique way of celebrating and remembering the life of someone special to you whilst helping to ensure the music of The Chapel Royal continues for generations to come.

Christmas Tree HCP

Each donation to the Choral Foundation of £10 or more will ensure that the name of the person you nominate is written on a beautiful Christmas Angel decoration which will be hung on a Tree of Remembrance in The Chapel Royal until the end of December. In addition, all names of loved ones commemorated in this way will be recorded in a book displayed in the Chapel from Sunday 6th January until the end of Christmastide on 2nd February and then kept in the Chapel records in perpetuity.

To reserve your Christmas Angel please speak to a representative of The Choral Foundation at the back of The Chapel Royal before or after Sunday services. The final date for reserving your Angel will be Sunday 23rd December.

Choristers Sing in The Season!

Chapel Royal Choristers processed through John Lewis Kinston on Saturday 24th November to launch the Christmas shopping season. The boys sang Christmas carols to the delight of the hundreds of shoppers in the store. As a seasonal gesture, The Choral Foundation, the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Place donated tickets for their concert held in the Chapel on 20th November which were raffled by the store earlier in the week to raise money for a local food bank charity.