The choir have been performing regularly together since its formation in 2013Martha Shawyer for Varsity

The Governing Body of St John’s College has rejected a motion requesting a re-evaluation of the decision to disband St John’s Voices choir (SJV).

This comes after the College Master, Heather Hancock, emailed all choir members in March informing them that the College would no longer be funding the choir, and that it would be disbanded at the end of Easter term.

SJV members have told Varsity that there are 14 female members of their choir, compared to three in the Chapel choir. The disbandment of SJV means there will be no opportunities for female soprano choristers in College.

Since the announcement, choir members have been campaigning to overturn the decision, seeking a re-evaluation. The formal motion was “heavily defeated” by College Fellows, according to SJV.

In an email to “friends of SJV”, the choir described that they are “devastated by this news, and rather surprised,” as “the College received some very generous donation offers which would have secured the future of the choir”.

SJV have alleged: “No matter what the College says, the reasoning behind this decision was not financial.”

The choir is now looking into alternative routes to maintain itself, including becoming affiliated with the University, rather than John’s. They wrote that despite how “it’s pretty much over for the campaign in College” they are “staying positive as [they] explore these options”.

The choir has just five performances remaining, with their final appearance set to take place on the 21st of June.

SJV thanked their supporters for their “love and support these last few months”, saying that their “kind words and actions have sustained [them]”. “We just wish it could have lasted longer”, they continued.

One choir member told Varsity that they feel “very frustrated about the lack of consultation throughout this process, and accused the college of showing “very little interest in [their] views or indeed the views of the many students at St John’s”.


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“I worry that this decision is illustrative of a broader trend towards devaluing both choral music and musical education in this country. Well-endowed Cambridge colleges should be taking a stand against these cuts not joining in,” they continued.

The choir has found fame on TikTok, where they have nearly 62,000 followers. Some of the group’s videos have been viewed almost 9 million times globally.

St John’s has faced a growing campaign amid the Cambridge music community and the wider public against the proposed disbanding of SJV. A petition to save the choir started in late March by Alex Trigg, former SJCC organ scholar and present SJV member, has amassed nearly 15,000 signatures.

St John’s College has been contacted for comment.