Choral Holidays - Singing in wonderful locations

Posted under: "General Blog Post"

Oct 11, 10:52 PM

Cantemus Cum Spiritu

Choral Holidays is launching an exciting new project which will go under the name Cantemus Cum Spiritu.

The idea is to form an auditioned choir from choirs around the country which will meet on several occasions each year to sing evensong at one of the great cathedrals. We will then have a summer residential course for a week, singing all the cathedral services.

The point of the choir is to give excellent choral singers, from choirs which do not often sing in cathedrals, the chance to do so, along with other singers of a similar ability. It will also be open to people from choirs which already sing regularly at cathedrals but who would like to do some more.

As the name suggests, the emphasis, as with all Choral Holidays projects, will be on making the music come alive, by singing with our whole bodies and spirits and creating our own, very personal experience of the music.

We plan to run three trips this year which will serve as auditions for the choir. The first is at Southwark Cathedral on 24th January, followed by trips to Worcester Cathedral on 23rd May and Coventry Cathedral on 17th October. Candidates are welcome to come to 1, 2 or 3 of these events . Numbers will be limited and it is important to stress that we get a much better chance to get to know your singing if you attend more than one of the events.

For each day event there will be a small fee to cover the cost of music, admin, and fees for the organist and choirmaster. For the residential week there will also be a fee, for the same things, plus accommodation, assuming we are able to provide it. We will provide the music for these events by post an will make learning tracks available via our website.

We do not require that the members of this group are excellent sight readers, but we will expect people to arrive with the music thoroughly learned to a level whereby, if only one other person of their voice type turned up on the day, they would feel confident of being able to carry their part. There will be no time of the day trips for note bashing. The idea is to reach as high a level as possible.

Our hope with this project is that by getting singers of a high standard to sing together, in the way that we seek to sing at Choral Holidays, the sheer joy of our wonderful choral tradition will feed, through our members, to church choirs all over the country and that this will help to strengthen them.

The choir will be for over 16s only. We hope, eventually, to have a pool of around 50-60 singers. There will be some cathedrals which can accommodate these numbers. For the ones that have limited space, we will invite a selection of the people in the pool based on location and ability. You will be invited at the end of a year for the events in the following year. We hope that you will commit to those events at that time.

Does this mean the end to Choral Holidays Trips which are open to all? Certainly not. We will be continuing with events such as our Milton Abbey course and may add a couple of similar trips in the UK. We will also be looking to continue with our lovely foreign trips.

Why the change of direction? I realised recently that the reason I wanted to form Choral Holidays in the first place was to promote choral church music and get more people loving it. My experience as a professional opera singer and of training choirs has shown me that this music can be brought to life in a way that truly fires people up about singing it. The open courses such as Milton Abbey are ideal for this, but I believe that the Cantemus Cum Spiritu project will be an ideal way to get those who are able, to reach an exceptional level.

I believe the world would be a much happier and joyful place if people felt able to truly express themselves through music, unfettered by inhibitions. Look around your choir. How many people look joyful when they sing? Are most if the people scowling as they concentrate; desperately concerned with just getting the notes right? If that’s the case, they are not truly enjoying singing that music. We can change this and I hope that Cantemus Cum Spirito will be a facility for that change. We want to produce a choir full of people who are absolutely in the moment, every moment they are singing, truly expressing the meaning of the words within the context in which the composer has set them. This is the way I believe all music should be sung and I believe the church choral tradition will benefit hugely by this approach.

We already have dates booked in for 2015 and residential courses booked for August 2016 at Winchester and York Minster on 2017.More details on that to follow.

We’re looking forward to this immensely and hope to welcome many of you to the training days.

If you are interested, please send an email entitled Cantemus Cum Spiritu to and we will send the necessary details and forms.




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