Magdalen's May Morning tradition returns

Friday, April 29, 2022

You can also livestream the Oxford college choir's event - and listen to their new album

The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford will on Sunday hold its first live May Morning ceremony since 2019. The annual tradition – said to date back at least 500 years – sees the 16 choristers and 12 Academical Clerks sing at dawn from the top of the College’s tower. Prior to when the pandemic paused the event, recent years saw tens of thousands turn out at 6am to hear the Choir perform.

Over the past two years, the choir had offered a Virtual May Morning edited together from members performing into phones and cameras from their homes during the first national lockdown, and in 2021 a performance pre-recorded in secret at the top of the tower at the end of April. The online coverage continues this year too - for those that can’t make the event, it will be live-streamed for the first time on the Choir’s Facebook page.

The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford welcoming in May Morning

According to Mark Williams, Informator Choristarum & Organist at Magdalen College: ‘For hundreds of years, the May Morning ceremony has been Oxford’s secret, available only to those able to assemble on Magdalen Bridge in the early hours of the morning. The pandemic saw us share our singing more widely and we were overwhelmed with messages from around the world after our two online offerings. Despite a number of challenges, including a rather intermittent internet signal at the top of the tower, we were keen to continue to share this treasured Oxford tradition and are planning to live-stream the event so that people can share in this unique ceremony wherever they may be.'

And to get you into the spirit, Magdalen College Choir has just released an album of Music for May Morning, ‘The Sweet and Merry Month’, available on Opus Arte, which you can listen to below via Apple Music:

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