Worshipful Company of Carmen

scite, cito, certe — skilfully, swiftly, surely
Musical Carmen

Carmen have made music for four centuries, from William Byrd’s The whislinge Carman of 1612, to the Carman Singers, formed this year.

The Carman Singers

Carmen are indeed in good voice and splendid harmony.  Some 20 Freemen and Liverymen held their first rehearsal in January, and are testing new lyrics for Byrd’s original melody.

The last verse runs:

'Good Carmen all delight to meet,
With wine and food, and guests to greet.
We work to save and save to share
And sharing, try to show we care.
Above all else we prize our friends
In fellowship – our means and ends'

The Carmen’s Musick

First published in August 1612, The whislinge Carman is now played at all formal Carmen events.  It was rediscovered in 1961.

The Carmen’s Fanfare

Once a year, when the Company remembers its origins and pledges renewal at its Foundation Day service, trumpeters of Christ’s Hospital play the Fanfare, specially composed by the School for the Company.

The Carmen’s Hymn

Written by two modern Carmen, the hymn is sung at the Foundation Day Service every year, and is dedicated to the Company’s patron St Catherine the Martyr of Carmen.

The first verse runs:

'O God of virtue, might and fame,
Fulfill in us our humble aim
To be possest of steadfast skill,
Yet swift and sure to do thy will.'

The Courteous Carman

Among early ballads, The Courteous Carman And the Amorous Maid or The Carman’s Whistle, was in the amatory and licentious tradition, usually sung as a duet, and risqué. In 1592 it was condemned as ‘such ribauldrie as Watkin’s Ale, The Carmen’s Whistle and sundry other’.

The last verse runs:

'Now fare thee well brave Carman,
I wish thee well to fare,
For thou didst use me kindly,
As I can well declare.'

The sung Grace – Laudi Spirituali, AD 1545

At formal functions, Carmen join the Master in singing the Grace, a City tradition.

'For these and all Thy mercies given,
We bless and praise Thy name, O Lord;
May we receive them with thanksgiving,
Ever trusting in Thy Word!
To Thee alone be honour, glory,
Now, henceforth, for evermore - Amen'

With the Band of the Royal Logistic Corps, Christ’s Hospital musicians, or with Carmen like saxophonist Rebecca Gibson, who originally joined as an Apprentice, Carmen delight in music making.