Spiritual Overview


Cambridge is known the world over for music from the chapels of the King's and St John's colleges where celebrated choirs have long performed church music at its most stirring and polished - King's since the days of Henry VI, St John's since the 1670s. The great tradition continues. You can attend concert performances and Evensong and sung Eucharist services.

North across the Fens, Ely Cathedral is well-known for its music - check its concert calendar for choral services and concert details - while at Cambridge's central church, Great St Mary's, there is a long tradition of bell-ringing, the society for it dating back to 1724. All you have to is open the window or stand in the street for a free Sunday concert between 8.35 and 9.30 and 5.30 to 6.30. There's also a practice on Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m.

In quieter style, there are Taizé services at Great St Mary's every Thursday evening during the university term, with characteristic meditative chanting - short, simple songs that by repeated singing are designed to bring the singers into a higher state of consciousness: a way of listening to God, they say, also a way of connecting with other humans.

For somewhat different kind of chanting, there is a Cambridge Hare Krishna group, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Visitors are also welcome at Cambridge's Sikh centre, which uses Indian music in its ceremonies. Remember to remove shoes and cover your head. And there are healthy rock-gospel and Hindu chanting groups in the city, all ready to welcome.

A good guide to all forms of spiritual life in Cambridge, musical or otherwise, is the Cambridge Rainbow Network. For the city's vast range of Christian observance, from Quakers to Chinese and Orthodox, see Christiancambridge.org.net.

For those interested in Naked Voice chanting as developed by Chloe Goodchild - an informal weekly group is currently active in Cambridge. You might like to connect with Sound Toning and quartz crystal sound bowl by looking at Moving Tone. There are some other styles of chanting -Gregorian or Georgian held regularly but informally in churches around the City.

For devotional chanting of a less spiritual bent, you could try the Abbey Stadium on a Saturday afternoon in the season. Nobody at Cambridge United will mind if you're a bit out of tune.