May Morning Madrigals

Pupils were up early on Sunday 1st May to sing Madrigals atop the Roberts Tower.

The Mixed Chamber Choir heralded the start of the month of May by performing from the top of the Roberts Tower on a beautiful sun-drenched early morning. After bagpiper Isaac roused the Downside community from its slumber with the Downside School Song and a selection of Scottish favourites, the choir performed the popular medieval English round ‘Sumer Is Icumen In’, followed by Orlando Gibbons’s ‘The Silver Swan’, Thomas Morley’s ‘This is the Month of Maying’ and John Farmer’s ‘Fair Phyllis’.

It was traditionally thought that singing May Morning Madrigals would herald in good weather for the summer….so far, so good!  The event began at Magdalene College, Oxford, and continues to this day. Madrigals are now sung across the country on the morning of 1st May, from Scotland to Somerset. We’re very proud of our pupils who rise early to take part in the event each year.