Alexandra Coghlan

How we became a nation of choirs and carollers

The roots of the English choral tradition lie in our alehouses as much as our cathedrals

Choral music is now as popular as Premier League football: Harry Christophers conducting the Sixteen choir at Hatfield House, part of A Choral Odyssey. Image: The Sixteen

Between the ages of 15 and 17 I had a secret. Every Monday night I’d gulp down dinner before rushing out to the scrubby patch of ground just past the playing fields, where a car would be waiting. Hours later — long after the ceremonial nightly locking of the boarding house — I’d sneak back, knocking softly on a window to be let in.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in