• Music

    During the week the full choir sings a wide range of music spanning the last five centuries up to the present day for the main course performances. In your small CONSORTS you will sing a variety of music from madrigals to close-harmony and jazz arrangements
    You will be asked to bring some SOLO music to work on in your individual SINGING LESSONS and there will be a chance for you to perform any other music during an INFORMAL CONCERT.

  • Organists

  • Venue


    It was in 1865 that Dr Charles Hayman proposed the idea of a proprietary school ‘for the education of the sons of noblemen and gentlefolk’ and succeeded in persuading a number of the town’s leading lights and churchmen to support the idea. The Revd James Wood was appointed headmaster and on 20 August 1867 Eastbourne College opened with three assistant masters and 14 boys at no1 Spencer Road in a house then called Ellesmere Villas, now Spencer Court.

    In June the support of the 7th Duke of Devonshire was sought and in due course he allotted some 12 acres to the new enterprise, the land now bounded by Grange, Carlisle, College and Blackwater Roads. This land was not a gift, but was made available by the Duke for purchase or at a modest rent. The Duke remained a benevolent friend until his death in 1891. The link with the Cavendish family survives and successive Dukes have held the post of President of the council ever since.

    By 1870 the Duke’s architect, Henry Currey, had produced plans for a main school building to be known as College (later School) House. This was soon erected on the Blackwater Road side adjacent to the 1835 flint building then known as Larkfield. To the west as far as Meads was farmland but funds were short (and for many years would continue to be so) and the boundaries were not extended. In 1873 a second house, Blackwater, was built – a piece of private enterprise by the Revd GR Green, later headmaster. In 1874 the chapel, another Currey design, was built. There were 100 boys on the roll and smaller buildings, a gymnasium, fives courts, additional classrooms and a library were added.

    The school motto, Ex Oriente Salus, is a typical Victorian play on words and means ‘Health (or Safety) from the East’. The school arms, together with the motto, were created in 1865, two years before the school was founded. The stag from the Devonshire arms remains a key component of the arms in their various manifestations, as well as an emblem for many sporting colours.

    However by 1888 numbers had dwindled to 60 and it was only the appointment of the Revd Charles Crowden as headmaster, who brought with him some 90 boys from Cranbrook School, that saved the financially unstable enterprise from foundering. Growth continued and by the late 1890s there were 170 on the roll. A cadet corps was founded, as was the Old Eastbournian Association. The century culminated with the award of the Victoria Cross to former pupil Henry Pennell for bravery on the Afghan Frontier. Not least during the school’s Victorian era were the high standards of scholarship: Oxbridge scholars in the classics were frequent and three notable academics, Professor Frederick Soddy (1893), Nobel Laureate for chemistry, Sir Harold Carpenter (1889), metallurgist of international repute, and Norman Henry Baynes (1892), professor of Byzantine history, were products of this period. Soddy and Baynes were the sons of Eastbourne residents.

    Most of the school buildings are on and around the central campus but many of the playing fields are to be found slightly further afield. For example, the Dukes of Devonshire allow us to use a part of the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club land. Bit by bit, additional boarding houses were added: apart from Blackwater House, further houses, Wargrave (1888), Gonville (1889) and Crosby (1914) as well as several short-lived enterprises were opened by members of staff who bought and ran them as businesses.

    Never blessed with major endowments, during the 1880s, the school went through a period of financial difficulty. Through the intervention of George Wallis, first mayor of Eastbourne, and the work of new headmaster the Revd Dr Charles Crowden, who brought with him 90 boys when he came from Cranbrook, the school was saved from disaster. This was repeated in 1895 when another new headmaster, the Revd Matthew Bayfield, brought with him from Christ College, Brecon, no fewer than four masters and 14 boys. The next year, 1896, the Cadet Force was founded and thrives to this day, having produced numerous Generals, Admirals and distinguished airmen, not to speak of two holders of the Victoria Cross.

    1899 saw the coming of Edward Carleton Arnold as a teacher. A notable naturalist, ornithologist and author, he introduced rugby football in 1900, nurtured several Blues and internationals, and became headmaster in 1924. Big School was built as the school assembly hall in 1909 and was to be devastated by fire in 1981. It was soon rebuilt as the College theatre, funded by donations from Old Eastbournians and others.

    Steady growth marked the early years of the 20th century until 1914 when war took the lives of no fewer than 165 former pupils. Lionel Rees won the Victoria Cross in 1916, one of the first fighter pilots. After the war, an appeal, generously supported by Old Eastbournians and led by headmaster EC Arnold, raised £48,000 (worth £1.7 million today) in memory of the boys who gave their lives in the Great War, so enabling the erection of the iconic Memorial Building.

    The 1930s, under headmaster Gordon Carey, who had been educated at the school, saw a general raising of standards and particularly the establishment of music and art as core activities. Steady expansion of the built environment followed, substantially financed by the generosity of former pupils, as has been the case throughout the history of the school. Day pupils were provided with first rate accommodation (local solicitor Stanley Powell in 1934 gave the magnificent building on the corner of Grange and Carlisle Roads to the College) and the sons of local tradesmen were admitted for the first time.

    John Nugee took over as headmaster in 1938 and it was he, an Old Radleian, who arranged the five year wartime evacuation to Radley College in Oxfordshire. World War Two saw 1226 boys in the services and by 1945 some 164 deaths had been recorded, just one less than in the Great War. The Eastbourne premises were occupied by the Royal Navy in the shape of a torpedo school, HMS Marlborough. Numbers dwindled, although a successful branch was maintained in Carlisle Road throughout the war. Mr Nugee helped to ensure a happy relationship with our hosts at Radley and brought the school back to Eastbourne in 1945. In 1946 he opened Ascham, the College prep school, in premises that had been purchased before the war. This school sent many first class boys on to the College and thrived until 1977 when the land was sold to permit the consolidation of the main school and its assets. And in 1946 the Old Eastbournians purchased the playing fields now known as Memorial as their way of remembering their comrades who had fallen in the war. Mr Nugee is sometimes known as the second founder of the College for, not only did he ensure our survival through the war years but, before he retired in 1956, had raised our numbers to more than 400.

    Mr Nugee was succeeded in 1956 by Michael Birley, a reforming head who banished corporal punishment and fagging and led the school through the ‘swinging sixties’. In 1967 the College celebrated its centenary and Ex Oriente Salus - A Centenary History of Eastbourne College was published, written by Vincent Allom, who had spent over 30 years teaching at the school. In 1969 the college admitted its first girls when the sixth form became coeducational, so becoming one of the first HMC schools to do so. By 1995 it was fully coeducational and much the better for it. Today girls comprise about 44 per cent of the 630-strong pupil body of whom about a half are day pupils. In 1966, in anticipation of our centenary, we were visited by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and in 1967 former Prime Minister the Rt Hon Harold Macmillan presented the prizes on the Centenary Speech Day.

    1997 saw the opening by the Duke of Devonshire of a fine new library, the Cavendish Learning Resource Centre. And in 2002 and 2003 two magnificent buildings, a new Science Centre and a new Design and Technology Centre were opened. In 2005 memorial plaques to the World War Two war dead were erected alongside their WW1 comrades in the Memorial Hall. And in 2011 a new Music and Performing Arts Centre, named after Mike Birley, now occupies the corner site opposite the Towner Gallery.
    In 2014, as a consequence of our Great War Centenary project, the names of ten additional casualties were added to the engravings in the Memorial Arch. The Eastbournian Society website carries more detail of the new memorial: www.eastbourniansociety.org/memorial

    We are currently in the early stages of Project 150, a massive venture which will transform the College’s dining, sporting and recreational facilities, utilising space in the area known as the Wish. It requires demolition of a number of buildings in that area and this has now begun. Completion is targeted for 2017, the 150th anniversary of our foundation. For further details: An introduction to Project 150

  • Tutors

    Ralph Allwood

    course director

    Ralph Allwood MBE founded the Eton Choral Courses in 1980 and was Precentor and Director of Music at Eton College until 2011. Alongside positions as Conductor of Inner Voices, Director of Rodolfus Choir and Director of Music at the Old Royal Naval Chapel, Greenwich, Ralph is in high international demand for choral workshops and master-classes. He is a choral advisor for Novello and the Voices Foundation, and adjudicates the Choir of the Year Competition and the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

    Ralph Allwood

    David Lowe

    Singing Teacher

    David Lowe is a central pillar of the Choral Courses’ teaching faculty, regularly teaching on the courses and visiting to give master-classes. He has been teaching students in Cambridge for over 20 years and can put his name to starting out the illustrious careers of numerous singers on the world stage. Formerly a professor of the Royal Academy of Music and now at the Royal Northern College of Music, David was also a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge and sung for many years in the Tallis Scholars and Collegium Musicum 90 under the late Richard Hickox.

    David Lowe

    Robert Rice

    Singing Teacher

    Robert Rice is a concert baritone who regularly performs oratorios such as Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem, Bach’s Passions et al. He gained early recognition for staged performances of challenging contemporary scores, and continues to give recitals of modern song, also recently visiting Bavaria to work with guitarist Erich Schachtner on a Lieder programme.

    Robert teaches singing regularly at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, for Lincoln Cathedral, and privately in London. He is in demand as a workshop leader; in recent times he has given workshops and master-classes for the Eton Choral Courses, The Sixteen, Christ’s Hospital and UCL Opera among others.

    Robert Rice
  • Highlights


    Eastbourne College -

    John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and received his first musical education as a chorister at Highgate School.

    He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording while still a student.

    His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, a piano concerto, two children’s operas, music for television, and specialist writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the King’s Singers.

    His larger choral works, Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985), Magnificat (1990), Psalmfest (1993) and Mass of the Children (2003) have been performed many times around the world.

    He co-edited four volumes in the Carols for Choirs series with Sir David Willcocks, and, more recently, has edited the first two volumes in the new Oxford Choral Classics series, Opera Choruses (1995) and European Sacred Music (1996).
    From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings.

    After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting.

    He has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Africa, North and Central America and Australasia.

    In 1980 he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians.

    In 1996 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.

    He was honoured in the 2007 Queen’s New Year Honours List, being awarded a CBE for services to music.

    Most of John Rutter’s music is published by Oxford University Press.



    Eastbourne College -

    Dame Felicity Lott was born in Cheltenham, into a family of amateur musicians. From an early age she learnt piano and violin, and took singing lessons. Her real love was the French language and she took a degree in French and Latin at Royal Holloway College, University of London, with a vague idea of becoming an interpreter. As part of the degree course, Felicity spent a year as Assistante d’Anglais in a school near Grenoble. Besides her teaching duties she enrolled at the Conservatoire de Grenoble and found an excellent singing teacher who encouraged her to pursue her singing studies. After returning to England to take her degree, she obtained an Associated Board scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied for four years, leaving in 1973 with the Principal’s Prize.

    In 1975 Felicity made her debut at the English National Opera as Pamina in Mozart’s Magic Flute, in 1976 she took part in the first performance of Henze’s opera We Come To The River at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. In that year also began her long relationship with Glyndebourne, with the role of the Countess in Capriccio on the Tour, and in 1977 she appeared at the Festival for the first time, as Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. Since then, Felicity has appeared at all the great opera houses of the world : Vienna, Milan, Paris, Brussels, Munich, Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, New York and Chicago. Her many roles include the Marschallin (Rosenkavalier / Strauss), Countess Madeleine (Capriccio / Strauss), Arabella (Strauss), Christine (Intermezzo / Strauss) Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze Di Figaro / Mozart), Fiordiligi (Cosi Fan Tutte / Mozart), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni / Mozart), Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes / Britten), The Governess (The Turn Of The Screw / Britten), Lady Billows (Albert Herring / Britten), Louise (Charpentier), Blanche (Les Dialogues des Carmelites / Poulenc) and Elle (La Voix Humaine / Poulenc). Conductors she has worked with on the opera stage include Andrew Davis, Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Jurowski, Carlos Kleiber, Antonio Pappano and Simon Rattle.

    More recently, Felicity has shown her affection for operetta. In 1993 she sang the title role in Lehar’s Merry Widow with Glyndebourne Festival Opera on a recording for EMI, but she had sung the role on stage in Nancy as well as in Paris in the 1980′s. In 1999 she appeared as Rosalinde in Johann Strauss’ Fledermaus in Chicago. Her performance as Hélène in Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène at the Chatelet in Paris, in a production directed by Laurent Pelly and conducted by Marc Minkowski brought her a great success in 2000. In the 2004-2005 season Felicity appeared with the same team as Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein.

    Felicity is well known as a concert artist, working with all the great conductors and orchestras. She is an experienced recitalist after many years of singing with Graham Johnson, whom she met when they were students at the Royal Academy of Music. Her repertoire includes songs by Strauss, Schubert, Schumann, Wolf and Brahms as well as the masters of French Mélodies. As might be expected, Felicity is also very fond of English songs, particularly those of Benjamin Britten and William Walton. She is a founder member of Graham Johnson’s Songmakers’ Almanac.

    Felicity has received many honorary doctorates, including those from the Universities of Oxford, London, Leicester, Sussex, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Glasgow and the Sorbonne in Paris. By the French Government she was awarded the titles Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1990 and Chevalier dans la Legion d’Honneur in 2001. In 1990 Felicity was made a CBE. In 1996 she was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire. In 2003 Felicity was awarded the title of Bayerische Kammersängerin and in 2010 she was awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal.



    Westminster Abbey, London - 14 August, 1700 - 1800

    We will end Course 4 with a trip to London to sing Choral Evensong in Westminster Abbey.



    Chichester Cathedral - 11 Aug, 1310 - 1400

    We are delighted to have been invited to perform a lunchtime recital at Chichester Cathedral, which is relatively close to Eastbourne College.

    Ralph Allwood – Director



    St Saviour's Church, Eastbourne - 12 August, evening (time TBC)

    Compline is the final church office of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours, marking the ‘completion’ of the working day. We will sing this service in nearby St Saviour’s Church.

    st saviours