Milton Abbey 10th Anniversary Choral Course



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This year, a year later than expected, we celebrate our 10th visit to Milton Abbey for our annual weekend of making music in the most fantastic surroundings. Whether you are a regular or a first timer you will be made most welcome on our longest running course.

Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, please read the paragraph in Red at the bottom of the page before making a booking.

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 nine 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. 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 now attracts close to 100 people.

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 some of the greatest music in the choral repertoire.

Of course, some people will have concerns about safety. We can only reassure you by saying that, owing to a huge investment on the part of the school into facial recognition, heat detectors and sanitising stations, Milton Abbey School has not had one single case of Covid 19.

We will begin the course at 11am on Friday 20th August and finish with an informal concert of the music on which we have worked, on the afternoon of Sunday 22nd. 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 good 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 sumptuous. Your accommodation, food and all drinks at mealtimes are included in the price.

If you would prefer to stay off-site, we have a daily rate available for lunch and dinner.

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 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 which 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 as well as a celebration of 10 years of Choral Holidays.

In 2019 we asked our guests whether they would rather sing one major work or the usual mixture of pieces. Opinion was divided so here’s what we’re going top do. We’re going to take some of the all time favourite choral pieces and work on them together with one of the most popular major choral works in the repertoire today.

Puccini’s Messa di Gloria is a beautiful work in which one of the greatest of all operatic composers, writing as a young man, mirrors some of what Verdi was already producing as well as showing what he would go on to write in his illustrious career. It’s not desperately difficult musically whilst providing vocal challenges which will enable us to teach you to get the best out of yourselves and provides the drama to get you really singing from the soul.

In addition to this we will include several old favourites from the church music repertoire. These will include Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine, Wood’s O Thou The Central Orb, Parry’s I was Glad, Greene’s Lord Let Me Know Mine End, Handel’s Zadok The Priest and Paul Carr’s stunning Holding the Stars

With continued uncertainty caused by the pandemic we would prefer that you didn’t send deposits at this stage.  To reserve your place, please send us an email to stating who will be in your party and whether you would like single or twin or group rooms. When we have sufficient numbers of people who intend to come and are certain that there are no more lockdowns on the way, then we will ask for a deposit. Please do not give us notice of your intention to intend unless you are certain that, barring any further restrictions being implemented, you fully intend to attend the course.

Cost of the Holiday

Price: £270 2 Nights (Deposit £140)With extra night including Evening Meal, Bed & Breakfast £310.00 *

Staying Off-Site with lunch and dinner included £185 (Deposit £140) *

*Please do not send a deposit at this stage.

Additional information

Holiday Options

Two Nights, Three Nights, Staying Off-Site with lunch and dinner included