Choral Holidays - Singing in wonderful locations

Milton Abbey 17th - 19th August 2018

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Our Milton Abbey weekend has become something of an institution. We are returning there for the eigth time after seven immensely successful visits.

Deep in the beautiful Dorset countryside, set in a natural amphitheatre of wooded hills, stands the magnificent church of Milton Abbey. Originally established by King Athelstan in 933, the present building, with its extraordinary acoustic, dates from the 15th Century, with building having been halted by King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. The Abbey became a boys school in 1953.

For the last seven years, we have experienced not only the beauty of the school and the setting, but also the thrill of having our own cathedral to practice and perform in. All this takes place without the pressure of being part of a regular cathedral’s pattern of worship. This makes it a great place for people with little experience to come and learn what it’s like to sing choral music. But, it also provides a chance for more experienced singers to come concentrate on learning better vocal technique and performance skills.

This has proved such a popular course. From humble beginnings with 16 participants, It has grown year on year and last year we had 85.

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With the help of our two wonderful organists, Jonathan Hope and Ben Saul and led by our artistic director Jeff Stewart we will be exploring a wide range of exciting and beautiful music, some familiar, some not so well known.

We will begin the course at 11 am on Friday 17th August and finish with a short concert of the music on which we have worked on the afternoon of Sunday 19th. We will also have a service of plainsong Compline on the Friday evening.

You will be staying in the school, where you will receive all your meals and will have access to the tennis courts, golf course and swimming pool. There will be the option to arrive on the previous evening on a bed and breakfast and evening meal basis.

The accommodation is the school accommodation but this is of a high standard. This does not mean dormitories. The rooms are mostly twin, but we are easily able to accommodate those who wish to have a room to themselves. The rooms are not en-suite. The surroundings are stunning and the food magnificent. Your accommodation, food and all drinks at mealtimes are included in the price.

We look to find a balance in the music that will challenge people and provide them with the opportunity to work on vocal and performance technique.

There is no actual requirement to learn the music before coming on the weekend and we will make sure you have access to learning tracks but it goes without saying that the more familiar everyone is with the music before arriving, the more we will achieve and the more fun everyone will have.

There is a lower limit on numbers. We have to have at least 45 people, so, if you are nervous about booking, fearing you might be the exposed, don’t be. Assuming the numbers continue to rise,you will be part of a large crowd.

All we ask is that you turn up with a sense of adventure, prepared to be challenged but also to have a great deal of fun. We want you to leave feeling better equipped to express yourself through music and with new ideas on vocal technique and performance technique wich will enrich not only your singing but life in general.

The Milton Abbey weekend promises, once again, to be a truly uplifting experience in this most wonderful of English locations.

The intention is to include the following pieces in the programme:

Charles Wood Hail Gladdening Light

Giovanni Gabrielli O Magnum Mysterium

Antonio Lotti Laudate Dominum in Sanctis Ejus

Claudio Monteverdi Cantate Domino

Charles V Stanford Beati Quorum Via

Cesar Frank Psalm 150

Gabriel Faure Cantique de Jean Racine

Giuseppe Verdi Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves

Charles V. Stanford Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem

Giuseppe Verdi Pater Noster

Sergei Rachmaninov Otche Nash -The Lord’s Prayer From the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Charles H. H. Parry I Was Glad

George Frederic Handel Zadok the Priest

Cost of the Milton Abbey Holiday £260 (£130 Deposit)

Extra night, including Evening Meal, Bed & Breakfast £40


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“More than anything I’d hoped for! Venue excellent – like having our own cathedral for rehearsals and with a much better acoustic than many cathedrals. Room very good, catering superb. I found parts of it (the music) challenging BUT I wouldn’t have wanted it too easy. I came to appreciate it more with practice. Special thanks for the practice CD and scores in advance. It’s all so very well thought out. Overall 11/10 – Nick Palmer
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