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Choir Tours

A Cathedral Choir Tour is not a holiday, however when you ask a chorister or Lay Clerk about the tour they will often highlight the places they went to, the people they met and the fun they had; so what is the difference between that and an active holiday? The answer lies in the following points: 

it enhances the standing of the Cathedral at home and abroad: encouraging choirs from abroad to come to Gloucester to sing the services when the Cathedral choir is absent

 it improves the singing of the choir as a unit: there is nothing better than living and working 24/7 with your colleagues – positive team bonding

it broadens the repertoire of the choir: taking the English Cathedral repertoire to foreign lands but also joining with other choirs to sing a selection of their repertoire

the prospect of a prestigious tour abroad indicates that Gloucester Cathedral is a vibrant and active choir: prospective Lay Clerks and Choral Scholars value these opportunities and  it has a positive effect on recruitment 

it enhances the education of the choristers: emphasis is put on “where are we going?” and choristers are encouraged to keep a scrapbook of their tour

Tours are scheduled every three or four years to enable funding to be raised. It is hoped that every chorister has the opportunity to participate in one international tour during his time in the Choir.

The dates selected for a tour will be structured within a choir and school holiday period whenever possible, however there may be a few days either end overlapping into a school term.

In the past the Choir has visited Norway, the States, South Africa, Sweden and, most recently, Canada in 2015.

Our latest tour:

Gloucester Cathedral Choristers visit Berlin

From 10th – 13th May this year, our 37 Choristers (boys and girls) and 6 staff members went to Berlin at the invitation of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - probably the best orchestra in the world- to perform in a concert at the orchestra’s own concert hall, the Philharmonie. The boys and girls spent four days in Berlin, preparing music by the contemporary composers Jonathan Dove and Nico Muhly, and then performing the works with the Berlin philharmonic to a packed hall. The Choristers, all between 7 and 13 years old, sang entirely from memory. The conductor, Simon Halsey, said “The Berlin Philharmonic and choirs from all over Europe were astonished by the excellence and unflagging professionalism of your remarkable choristers. With such a distinguished music staff it was just what I had anticipated!” A tribute to the preparation and high standards expected of the choristers by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, Adrian Partington.

The Cathedral’s Singing Development Leader Nia Llewelyn Jones said “Not many children can say that they have sung on the stage of the Philharmonie alongside what many would consider the best orchestra in the world, with a massed international choir of over 500 singers and the composers of both pieces present…but, our choristers can!  This was an outstanding experience for our children to sing in a very different setting to that which they are used to. 

Our trip to Berlin was an intensive few days with a vigorous rehearsal schedule.  But, our choristers worked hard and delivered during all rehearsals.  The conductor commented on their professionalism and excellent delivery.  It was a joy to spend time with the children and get to know them better in a different setting.  It was a particular pleasure for me to have both the boys and girls present.  We did have a few opportunities to ‘let off steam’, including a trip to the beautiful Tiergarten Park, where the children played and even built a den in the woods.  It was lovely to see the children interact with each other, and especially to see the way in which the older children helped and supported the younger ones.   I feel that everyone bonded; the atmosphere was positive and friendly throughout. 

The concert was wonderful.  The final movement of Jonathan Dove’s There was a child weaves together many themes in the choral and orchestral parts, leading to a dramatic climax.  At the core of this were our own choristers, stood in the front row, singing their hearts out.  I felt moved and very proud.  This was clearly a sentiment shared by the children – many of them were in tears, overcome by the occasion and the joy of being a part of such a performance.  The atmosphere at the post-concert reception was joyful and vibrant.  Comments from parents have included ‘[My daughter] said that was the best thing that happened to her in her life!’ It was a privilege and pleasure to be a small part of this tour, and to spend time with great colleagues both young and slightly older!”

Thanks go to ACFEA Travel Consultants, London for their professional approach to organising flights, accommodation and refreshments and to Rover European Coaches for travel in UK.


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