The Edinburgh University Singers (EU Singers or EUS for short) are made up of approximately 35 members, under the direction of Dr. John Kitchen. As the University’s official choir, we contribute a small number of singers to perform at the Winter and Summer Graduations: for these occasions we sing a selection of unaccompanied traditional pieces (including Down By the Sally Gardens and Gadeamus Igitur), as well as arrangements of Scottish poems by Robert Burns, such as Flow Gently Sweet Afton, Ye Banks and Braes and The Birks of Aberfeldy. We also cooperate annually with the Edinburgh University Renaissance Singers for the University’s Carol Service.
We perform regularly at multiple events during the run-up to Christmas: this year’s venues included the Usher Hall, the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy. Our repertoire in these occasions consists of festive music, ranging from traditional carols to classic Christmas favorites.
We also perform on our own several times throughout the academic year, singing our mixed repertoire of renowned church music and 13th century Scottish songs. The main event is typically in the second semester, for which we prepare larger, more challenging pieces. Examples of this are our performance of Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Te Deum in C in Old Saint Paul’s Scottish Episcopal Church (2013); Mendelssohn’s Symphony no. 2 in the Usher Hall (2014); and Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore in Greyfriar’s Kirk this March. Previous works of this size performed in the past include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Handel’s Coronation Anthems.
The choir has had the additional privilege of performing works by composers that have been close to the University, such as James MacMillan, a University alumnus, and Claire McCue’s Kneeling, as well as compositions by current students at the University’s Reid School of Music.
In addition, a selection of choir members participates in our yearly tours, with destinations ranging from Germany, Vienna (2014) and Prague to Tuscany, Venice and Rome (2013). Our latest tour destination was Dublin, Ireland, which we visited in late March: while there we performed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.