The Choir of Royal Holloway has released a new single in celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, an unprecedented event in British royal history.
The uplifting anthem ‘In Our Service’ was composed by award-winning British composer Thomas Hewitt Jones and was commissioned by the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), of which HM the Queen is Royal Patron, to commemorate her special celebration in June 2022. The single is released today, on the Signum Classics label.
Rupert Gough, Director of The Choir of Royal Holloway, said: “Royal Holloway’s connections to the monarchy date back to its opening with Queen Victoria. Just after her Diamond Jubilee, HM Queen Elizabeth II visited us in the chapel to bestow a Regis Professorship on the Music Department. It therefore gives us great honour to record this new composition in our chapel to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
“Her Majesty has imparted many words of wisdom in her speeches and Thomas Hewitt Jones has been inspirational in drawing these together to create an uplifting and heartening anthem of celebration.”
Composer Thomas Hewitt Jones, said: “I am so delighted that the brilliant Rupert Gough and The Choir of Royal Holloway have recorded such a stunning definitive version of this new choral anthem commissioned by the Royal School of Church Music to celebrate HM the Queen, their Royal Patron, on her incredibly special Jubilee.
“While writing it, the aim was for a new and inclusive, yet weighty, piece of choral music that can be sung by choirs all around the Commonwealth this year. When searching for words to set to music, it became apparent that many of the Queen’s royal speeches over the years have contained pertinent and thoughtful messages, all relevant to today's world. I wanted to incorporate many of these in the anthem, so I decided to write new words inspired by certain quotes which particularly stood out. I hope that the result is a vibrant, uplifting (and, if I’m honest, quite emotionally charged) piece of music which celebrates both the reign of our incredible monarch, and the ever-valuable medium of choral singing - arguably one of the most natural, uplifting, and unifying experiences of the human condition.”
Hugh Morris, Director of the RSCM, said: “We wanted to be able to celebrate our Royal Patron’s unique Jubilee; and for us as a charity to commission this new piece was a fitting way of doing that. We have made sure that it’s accessible, easy to learn, and rewarding to sing, and very much intend it to be an ‘Anthem for all’, be that cathedral or church choir, community choir, school choir, indeed pretty much any group of singers. As a charity, RSCM works to encourage, nurture and inspire musicians in a wide range of contexts.”
RSCM hopes that this special commission will not only encourage groups to come together to sing, but will also draw attention to its wider activities, aims and vision as it approaches its centenary in 2027. One of RSCM’s most important annual activities is Music Sunday, which celebrates the role of church music in worship and the dedication of all church musicians, and aims to reach out into the community and join with others. This year Music Sunday takes place on 12 June, the weekend after the Jubilee.
Audio preview link: In Our Service (theorchard.com)