The William & Mary Schola Cantorum is an entirely student-directed chamber choir dedicated to renaissance and twentieth century composition. The Schola was founded in the Spring of 2010 as a project choir to present one evening concert in the Wren Chapel. The original roster included sixteen student volunteers from the College’s choral program, and one organ scholar. Excited by the group’s success, the director and returning students decided to continue the project. In the Fall of 2010, students re-auditioned for membership and the Schola was augmented to twenty singers.
The Schola derives much of its repertoire from the university chapel choirs of Oxford and Cambridge, and particularly, the tradition of choral evensong or vespers. Bruton Parish Church and the College’s Wren Chapel – both eighteenth century buildings – provide ideal acoustic and aesthetic settings for the kind of music the Schola sings. The Schola has found a helpful model in the Yale Schola Cantorum and in similar ensembles, and its members continue to pursue increasingly ambitious programs.
In the past, the Schola has collaborated with the William & Mary Early Music Ensemble, the William & Mary Bel Canto Brass Quintet, the William & Mary Gallery Players, Christopher Newport University’s CNU Voices, and guest instrumentalists. It has also sung for conducting student masterclasses and has begun commissioning works by young composers, including former music director, Wes Dunnavant.
Virginia Tilley, 2019, Former Music Director