While many students’ idea of extra curricular activities rarely stray past drinking copious amounts of alcohol or frantically hacking (possibly at the same time), some students take a less-travelled road.Chris Chan is Merton’s current organ scholar and leader of the Chapel Choir, although he does not limit himself to just the choir. In fact, he says ‘I also co-conduct the big band and orchestra in Merton, and am conductor of the Oxford String Ensemble.’ Clearly not someone who is content to rest on their laurels, then.
The chapel choir will also be keeping itself busy. Despite mentioning that Trinity is often quieter, due to finalists hitting the exam period, Chan describes a full line-up of events, from memorial services to concerts raising money for a tour in Vienna in June.On to the role of organ scholar. Chan describes it so: ‘You do have to take on responsibility – you are employed in representing the chapel.’ Being an organ scholar involves much more than playing the organ; as Chan puts it, ‘you become part of the college’s staff.’
In Michaelmas 2008, Merton will launch the Choral Foundation, offering scholarships to 15 students under the leadership of Peter Phillips. Chan says that one of the main reasons for the foundation were ‘our acoustics in Merton, which are known not just in Oxford but world wide as well’. Two years after the idea was first brought up, over £1,000,000 has been raised for the foundation.
Phillips, who directs the world famous Tallis Scholars, will be Director of Music at the chapel and will no doubt bring great expertise to the foundation.