The choir is expected to sing services in different chapels or churches every week Hannah Mawardi for Varsity

A successor choir to St John’s College’s disbanded mixed gender choir, the St John’s Voices (SJV), has been announced by the campaign group Save SJV.

SJV was axed by the College in March, after its Committee on Music decided to redirect the “significant resources” spent on the choir to ” new opportunities”. The decision caused outrage among students and alumni, and a campaign to reverse the decision was backed nearly 15,000 signatures, including those of Gareth Malone and Rowan Williams.

In posts on social media, the group stated that a successor choir will be formed, following an “outpouring of support from across the world” for SJV.

“Though we were ultimately unsuccessful in reversing the college’s decision, we have been inspired by the strength of feeling to preserve our wonderful choir,” the group said.

The new choir will include the current members of SJV and operate on a “very similar model to the current choir”.

The choir is expected to sing services in different chapels or churches every week and be open to all Cambridge students, making it “a truly University-wide ensemble”.

As part of the initiative, a Save Our Choir fundraising campaign has been launched in order to “endow the costs of the choir in perpetuity,” with a stated target of £1.5 million.

The campaign has claimed that, due to the support of some “major donors […] we are well on our way to achieving our goal”.

When the decision to axe SJV was announced last term, concerns were raised that the move would restrict diversity in the college’s choir, with members telling Varsity that there are 14 female members of their choir compared to three in the College’s chapel choir, which does not admit female soprano singers.


Mountain View

John’s refuses to reconsider mixed choir disbandment

In April, Varsity revealed that St John’s College spent over 17 times more on its chapel choir than on SJV. Operating costs for the St John’s College Choir for the 2022/23 financial year stood at £1,022,564, and at £58,667 for the axed choir.

In May, the Governing Body of St John’s College rejected a motion requesting a re-evaluation of the decision to disband SJV. The choir described in an email to “friends of SJV” that they were “devastated by this news”.

The SJV performed for the final time last Friday (21/06) in St John’s College Chapel, conducted by choir director Graham Walker.

Save SJV and St John’s College were contacted for comment.