EX CATHEDRA | Jack Granby - tenor

From our ‘Christmas Music by Candlelight’ programme, December 2018

Jack began singing in Birkenhead School chapel choir, which, unusually for a day school, sang an evensong each Sunday evening in term time. This was a great introduction to Dyson in D, ‘Garlic Dressing’ and other evensong standards, however it was at Exeter College, Oxford that Jack really got stuck into choral music. Combining a Masters in Biochemistry and an affinity for choral music, in his tutor’s opinion, remains an incomplete task. The latter won out in the end, as Jack joined the choir of Magdalen College, Oxford as a lay clerk from 2016 – 2018, enjoying two amazing years learning a lot from that special environment. After two more fantastic years in Oxford (6 in total!), Jack has recently completed his move to London this Autumn, and now enjoys life as a freelance singer, as well as a cyclist specialising in finding most of London’s potholes. Jack sings as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, whilst deputising at several London churches, and also singing for a variety of ensembles including Ex Cathedra, Chamber Choir Ireland, Sansara, Chamber Choir of London & Wykeham’s Musicke.

1. How long have you been a member of Ex Cathedra and why did you join?

I sang for the first time with Ex Cathedra last Christmas for the ‘Christmas Music by Candlelight’ series, enjoying performances in beautiful Hagley (my first concert), and then Leicester, London and Birmingham. The variety of music that is weaved together in Ex Cathedra programmes was an important factor for me, as it provides a wonderful overall experience for the audience and the singers. This along with the choir’s reputation for being of the highest standard both for singing and friendly atmosphere were key reasons why I wished to become involved – it wasn’t just that Jeffrey had been a Magdalen clerk!

2. What does a typical day look like for you?

This is a bit of a trick question really, as every day is different! For me, this involves a huge variety of activities each day, including rehearsals, services, concerts, travel, singing lessons, as much cooking as I can, admin & a day off once every few months! I worked as a barista in a specialty coffee shop whilst in my first year at Magdalen and so I have a love for great coffee, both at home and throughout London (of which there is no shortage), and so coffee making is a key part of most mornings. Tuesday mornings will hopefully be dedicated to football each week in London, with cycling also being part of most days either commuting or exploring North London.

3. If you could choose to perform again any piece you have performed before with Ex Cathedra, what would it be, and & why?

I’m going to cheat and have three pieces for this, as they were sung almost as one at the beginning of Candlelight concerts in 2017. They are ‘Mein G’müth ist mir verwirret’ by Hassler, ‘O do not move’ by Tavener and ‘Let all mortal flesh keep silence’ by Bairstow. This combination generated one of the most amazing atmospheres that I have ever experienced whilst singing choral music, and left me excited, not overwhelmed by the amount of singing yet to come!

4. What’s your musical “guilty secret”?

Oxford’s “Jack FM” would be my guilty pleasure mostly due to its excellent name, but it offers great 80’s hits and also maintains hilarious, if not often surprising, interjections by the man inside the radio between songs.