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21st October 2009

Exeter Chapel turns 150!

There have been many exciting events in the last year, leading up to the 150th anniversary of the consecration of our Chapel. The service for former organ and choral scholars sticks out in the memory as one where the unique atmosphere and spirit of the building was celebrated, and singing Evensong in Westminster Abbey (another building with the patented George Gilbert Scott brand on it!) was wonderful.

But obviously, the service sung on the 150th anniversary of the consecration itself, 18th October 2009, was what all this attention and excitement was aimed at. The choir received the newly commissioned setting of Psalm 121 at the beginning of term and learnt it quickly, ready to premiere at the service and record for the upcoming CD shortly afterwards. Singing the College Psalm to music specifically written with our choir, and our chapel, in mind was very special for us and was a great way to start the term. We heard a thought-provoking sermon from the Bishop of Exeter about what this building, this temple of God, really means and the place it has within the college. Especially exciting on this anniversary was seeing so many old members back to celebrate this milestone with us. It was great to chat with former students and people connected with the Chapel on this occasion and hear about some of the stories that connect us all through the fabric of such an artistic and beautiful building.

And, now that we have sung Evensong at St Alban’s Abbey just last week (yet another building worked on by George Gilbert Scott!) the anniversary celebrations are truly over. It has been a great privilege to be involved in the life of the Chapel during this time. Of course, there is still plenty going on – one could say life begins at 151! Do come to our concert on Saturday 14th November, or join us for one of the many services that continue throughout this term leading up to Christmas – a chapel as beautiful as Exeter’s deserves to be as full as possible!

Becca Rees (2008, English)

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