14 TRINITY TODAY COVER STORY BY EMILY McAULIFFE When Bachelor of Music student Pip McQuinn applied to join Trinity’s choir in 2017 – a decision based on the choir’s reputation – the last thing she expected was to hear her voice and those of 25 fellow choristers echoing in the chambers of Windsor Castle. But in her second year of College that’s exactly what happened when the Choir of Trinity College toured Europe and the UK for several weeks in June and July. While vocally blessed Trinitarians have graced the abodes of British royalty before, along with prominent venues in countries such as Hong Kong, Russia and the United States, the choir had been on a touring hiatus for a number of years. That was until Trinity’s Director of Music, Christopher Watson, joined the College in 2017 determined to kick things off again. ‘The tours aren’t just fun, but in 20 years’ time, they’re probably what students will remember the most,’ says Christopher. ‘It could be the reason people stay engaged with the College into the future. On top of that, the College itself benefits as we get to promote ourselves culturally. The fact I’d heard of Trinity when I was living in the UK, and so had most of my colleagues in Europe, is because of the choir.’ As confirmation of Trinity choir’s international standing, Christopher moved to Melbourne from Oxford in the United Kingdom specifically for the opportunity to work with the group. ‘I’d heard the [Trinity] choir singing in Europe and had some of their CDs,’ he says. The model adopted by Trinity is rare in the southern hemisphere, with its dedication to creating a professional college chapel choir more common to the UK and Europe. Believing Trinity’s choir to be on a par with similar groups in Cambridge and Oxford, Christopher decided it was something he wanted to be a part of. A STRONG TRADITION The secret to Trinity choir’s success is not so much a secret – it’s practise. ‘One of the reasons the choir is so professional is because we sing day in, day out,’ says Christopher, of the choir’s demanding 10-hour per week commitment. ‘We sing in the Chapel when it’s just God and someone’s granny and we sing when the place is full. It’s that repetitive nature that makes the choir so good.’ The choir has been honing its craft for a long time, having been established during Trinity’s early days in the late 1800s, before being shaped into its current, more professional form around 1975. When Michael Leighton Jones joined Trinity as Director of Music in 1997 he recognised the choir’s potential and decided it was time to take Trinity to the world. The first international tour was to the UK the following year. ‘Our first big tour generated a great deal of excitement,’ remembers Michael. ‘Saying you’d sung in Westminster Abbey is the sort of thing you’d tell your grandchildren.’ Belinda Wong, a student on that first tour, recalls arriving with a mix of excitement and panic. ‘It was nothing a pint couldn’t fix though,’ she laughs. ‘I remember being at Westminster THE SOUND SOUND The Choir of Trinity College soared to new heights in 2018, returning to Europe two decades after its first international tour.