The Choir toured to Prague in February half term and took with it 40 students, 8 staff, and a versatile and interesting programme for the Czech public to enjoy.
The tour started with a Mass at St. Vitus Cathedral and upon arriving at the impressive building, we were told that we were the first British Choir to be allowed to sing Mass at the Cathedral in nearly 2 years; some accolade! We sung 4 anthems appropriate to Mass and the Choir sang beautifully in freezing conditions to a very appreciative and respectful congregation. At the end of the service, we were allowed to perform a 15 minute recital and it was noted that many of those who enjoyed the service and stayed afterwards, were Tourists who had travelled across Prague to be a part of the service and hear the Choir.
Next day, we travelled to Pisek (a small town an hour and a half away) where we performed in Trinity Church. We were delighted to be joined by former student Christina Johnston who currently sings with the National Theatre and Prague State Opera. She sang Eternal Source of Light Divine with the Director of Music Tim Rhodes accompanying on Baraque Trumpet and tour accompanist Geoff Lavery playing the organ continuo. She then sang Mozart’s Laudate Dominum with the choir accompanying her. It was a real treat for both Students and audience that Christina was able to give of her time to come and sing with the College Choir. The Choir sang superbly and we returned to our hotel delighted with our efforts so far.
The final concert was at the Chapel Korunni in Prague, and an audience of 250 packed the church to listen to a repeat of the previous night’s programme. This included the entire Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten who we are celebrating the centenary of his birth this year. Accompanied beautifully by our visiting harp teacher Helen Sharp, the choir performed magnificently and the audience were generous in applause and feedback afterwards.
After the concert, we were treated to a local folk evening with dancing and music in the local Brewery. The food and refreshment was fantastic, and everyone spent the evening reminiscing about the concerts and experiences enjoyed whilst on the tour.
The Choir returned to the UK after a tough, tiring, but thoroughly cultural, memorable and successful tour; the first of its kind in years.
My thanks to the staff and students for making it a tour to remember! Here’s to the next one!
Mr Tim Rhodes, Director of Music