The Chapel Choir recently returned from an excellent concert tour to Paris, where they performed four concerts in some of the world’s best known cathedrals.
The choir go on an international trip every year, and had previously visited northern Italy in 2013. By heading to Paris this year, the choir would be immersing themselves in a city that is rich in culture and blessed with an abdundance of stunning cathedrals.
The repertoire chosen for the concerts was primarily a selection of the anthems that the choir had sung during the past school year, from the triumphant ‘Zadok the Priest’ by Handel to the rather more reflective ‘In Pace’ by Blitheman.
Having met up with the Year 10 Battlefields Party at Tyne Cot Cemetery, where the choir sang Tavener’s ‘Funeral Ikos’ as part of a short service of reflection and commemoration, the choir headed on to their base on the outskirts of Paris.
Their first concert was the next day, at the church of St Sulpice. This vast building is the second largest of its kind in Paris (after Notre-Dame) and proved to be a fitting venue as the choir also adjusted to 39-degree heat.
For their second concert, the choir headed to the church of La Madeleine. Most famous for being the church where the famous composers Fauré and Saint-Saens were both Director of Music, this was also the venue for our largest of audience of the tour: at one point over 200 people were watching the choir perform.
On the Friday, the choir headed to the nearby town of Chartres, home to the famous 13th-century cathedral that could be seen from miles away, whilst their final concert was at the oldest church in Paris: St Pierre de Montmartre. This proved to be the venue most suitable to our 38-strong choir, and was especially well supported by parents who had come out to see the choir perform.
There can be no doubt that these concert tours are always an important opportunity for the choir to blossom both socially and musically, and the extent to which the pupils grew as musicians over the course of the trip was plain for all to see. To be able to sing beautiful repertoire in such stunning surroundings is something which transcends words, and it was a privilege for us all to share in this memorable experience.