Rogers Covey Crump
Rogers began his career as a boy chorister at New College, Oxford, and later a tenor lay-clerk at St Albans Abbey.
He might have made a professional career as an organist or as a singer but his vocal activity soon took prominence and over many years he worked with a variety of early music ensembles—particularly with the late David Munrow’s Early Music Consort of London, the Baccholian Singers, The Consort of Musicke, the Medieval Ensemble of London, Gothic Voices, and with the Landini, Deller and Taverner consorts.
Rogers was a member of The Hilliard Ensemble, a male-voice quartet known globally not only for its concerts and recordings of medieval and renaissance repertoire but also for its acclaimed first recordings of the vocal works of the Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt.
A Personal Message
I was born within one hundred yards of one of the Choir’s favoured concert venues, namely St Peter’s Church, St Albans. I was baptized there and my father, a very active local amateur musician, would help out on the organ from time to time and even arranged hymns to be played by a small orchestra at the invitation of the Reverend Fergusson. The latter’s catch phrase that my Dad would quote was: ‘Bugles and drums, Covey, bugles and drums!’ Contrary to the correct pronunciation of our name the ‘covey’ was and is often given a long ‘o’ as in ‘cove’ but not correctly as in ‘dove’.
As a boy I enjoyed the great good fortune of being surrounded by amateur music making and never looked back from my father’s ambition for me to follow in his footsteps as an Oxbridge boy chorister. He sang the first verse of ‘Once in royal David’s city’ at King’s Cambridge’s very first Nine Lessons and Carols in 1918 (the broadcasts began in 1928). Four years as a boy at New College Oxford gave me the bulk of my skills as a singer and after a false start on a Chemistry degree I spent three years at the Royal College of Music as a First Study organist and degree student, only starting singing lessons in my second year. In my final term in 1968 I was blessed with lessons from the great lyric tenor, Wilfred Brown.
A crucial and important aspect of my musical life is that I have lived in St Albans all my life save six years in the wilds of Bedfordshire. I joined the Cathedral Choir as a teenage tenor and commuted to South Kensington. Through my long student period I sang with a number of local choirs including David Ireson’s Fayrfax Consort and out of this group a seed was sown for the formation of what is now Carillon. I have known and sung with a handful of those local singers from the late 1960s! The point is that I still feel connected to the St Albans music scene despite my thirty years of international concert touring with the Hilliard Ensemble.
The choir has a backbone of long serving members but it is essential for younger folk to come along and, we hope, enjoy the experience enough to become regulars. I regard my role to be as a sounding board for any member who feels the need for impartial advice or an opinion.
I enjoy attending the concerts and look forward to being more around following the disbanding of the Hilliard Ensemble and I hope you will come and enjoy the concerts too.