Choral Holidays - Singing in wonderful locations

Selected Testimonials:

Sanctuary Lluc 2014

I just wanted to say I absolutely loved the week. I had a ball. Loved every minute of it.
You and the team helped create a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Without exception all the guests were a pleasure to chat to and spend time with.
I enjoyed the music and most of all this week it re affirmed my love for choral singing.

Daniela Amasanti – DeBono

I just wanted to email you with my thanks to yourself and to all the team, for a wonderful holiday experience. You did everything you said as advertised on your web site and much more. Lluc monastery was a perfect setting and gave a real spiritual feeling to the music, the singing and being able to practise in the peaceful and reverent atmosphere of the Basilica was perfect. The friendliness of the choir, the warm weather, the good food and variety of trips out made for a very relaxing holiday. Your philosophy of enabling people without formal music qualifications to enjoy choral singing and feel a real sense of belonging to the music is heart warming. Throughout the week the emphasis was on getting us to feel and develop an appreciation and interpretation of the pieces and express that through our voices. During the week, the choir came together and although I would not describe myself as religious, it felt like a religion of music. That is, an attachment, a sharing with other like minded souls in a common belief.
Its obviously difficult to assess the amount of practice that’s required or achievable within the itinerary of the holiday, but I would have been happy with more practice, simply because I loved the time spent in the Basilica and looked forward to every practice we had. So well done, I am already missing the singing and will definitely be coming along to more choral holidays.

Yvonne Whyte

Thank you so much for a very happy and most enjoyable time in Lluc. Being a
bit of an organizer myself, tho’ on a much, much smaller scale, I can
imagine the time, trouble and imagination you gave to create such a superb
holiday. The music was an interesting mix, full of good things—-and I love
singing with you——and the meals out were very generous and a real treat.
The meal in Soller was most memorable and different from anything I’ve
tasted before and the wines were excellent and delicious. It was so peaceful
at the monastery too and the stars on clear nights were wonderful.

Tricia Howitt

I am still on a high after our wonderful week.

Kathy West

I am so grateful to you and your team for this wonderful experience. For several days after the holiday finished, I woke up with snatches of harmonies and words going round in my head, and was quite disappointed to realise that practicing these glorious pieces was no longer the main aim of my day. I learnt a huge amount in just five days, from you and also from the other singers who were so generous and patient in helping me find my way through a maze of previously unknown music.As well as the singing being so gorgeous, it was a lovely holiday in all other respects – beautiful location, nice people, a thoughtful itinerary – good excursions, and nice to have Allegra’s relaxation sessions on the days we were based in Lluc – lots of care taken about everyone and everything, which Steve and I especially appreciated as we came with various physical problems.

Claire Entwhistle

Thank you so much for giving me a wonderful experience at Lluc. Not only did it help me to forget about my painful back, it also enabled me to do things with my voice i had never done before.

I was very aware throughout that you were treating all of us with the greatest respect as artists trying to create something really worthwhile. Your focus on narrative and expression is something I will always remember.
Thank you also to the rest of the team and, in particular, Ben for his help in tuning up my voice and for his ‘singing every other bar’ exercise that I still don’t understand but which was strangely effective!

All in all a great experience which helped me to develop a great deal as a choral singer.

Steve trevillion

This was our third Choral Holiday and we enjoyed just as much as the others and in some ways more so, now that the Choral Holiday wheels have been so well oiled, although having said that Florence was very hard to beat. The choice of music we thought excellent, with a great mixture between the sacred and the traditional and your skill at getting us all to what I thought was an excellent standard by the end was amazing. To sing in the Cathedral was a special treat.

On the social side, we also very much enjoyed the trips out and the restaurants were simply superb. The five course tasting menu will remain in my memory as will the walk to the distant but nearby restaurant (sorry Peter) whose name I forget, but which was equally excellent!

We made good friends with other choristers and had many good laughs, which we think is very much part of the whole thing. Allegra, Peter and Ben being an integral part, were an added bonus too.

We are already looking forward to another Choral Holiday when we can again ‘lower the tone’

Nick Symondson

After a week to recover and reflect, it is time for me to add my voice to the chorus of approval for our Lluc holiday.
A heartfelt thankyou for your team’s careful planning and organisation, both before and during the holiday. It was wonderfully releasing and relaxing to know that everything was in your capable hands. I enjoyed the freedom of no responsibility and no decision-making!
So many highlights during the week:
the train out to Soller;
the scenic mountain drive back from Valldemossa;
the lunchtime meal at Es Guix….
The singing was a daily joy: thank you for your patience, enthusiasm and constant encouragement. The overall atmosphere of loving acceptance enabled everyone to thrive.
I am glad to be a member of the Choral Holidays family.

Jo Constantine

I just wanted to say how much we enjoyed Lluc. For me, singing for the first time, and in a completely different genre to what I know best, it was truly exciting. I gave it my best shot, but I know I made lots of mistakes (in addition to things I got wrong but didn’t know about!) Thank you for your tolerance and encouragement. This was a holiday, but I would happily have spent all day rehearsing! I was really glad to be in strong group of basses who knew what they were doing.

I think I can improve and I will look for an opportunity to join a regular choir – I think there are quite a few around here – and work on improving my technique. Interestingly, I sensed that at the end of the week my voice (singing and speaking) had actually changed a little…presumably as a result of exercising muscles previously unutilised.

I don’t think there’s anything you could have improved on in Lluc, we loved the location and the music, and you had a great team with you. The only thing which I was concerned about was the amount of effort you personally put in around logistics: I do hope you weren’t completely drained at the end of the week, but I suspect you were!

Stuart Lynas

I would like to thank you for organising such a wonderful week singing at Lluc. As you know, for personal reasons, I was hesitant about going on a singing holiday on my own having so recently lost my wife. Since our retirement some 14 or so years ago we went on numerous courses in interesting places around Europe and had some great times and Lluc lived up to my highest hopes and expectations. The venue had so much to offer – lovely location in the mountains, a basilica that was great to sing in, simple but comfortable rooms and the food was for the most part good too. And the two restaurants you found for us to visit were both excellent. And then there was the music – quite a mixed bag. Not all my taste but I did in fact enjoy it all and you managed to bring us together to produce a final concert with which I think we can all be proud. Having the organ was good and it was well located relative to the choir. I have sung in churches abroad where the console is located at the other end of the building and out of sight of almost everything with somebody having to relay the beat to the organist. The organ wouldn’t have been much use without Ben who, together with Allegra, Peter and the rest of your team, made the holiday so successful.
I look forward to my next Choral Holiday. Bring it on!

Gloucester Cathedral 2013

Thanks again for the Gloucester Cathedral weekend. I had an absolute ball. It was intense and hard work, but exhilarating and challenging and I got such a buzz out of singing in the Cathedral. I loved all the ceremony of it all! I’d do it again in a heartbeat!!!
Audrey Nealon

Once again I must say a big thank you for the wonderful weekend of singing in Gloucester Cathedral. I think I have just about come back down to earth!

You started off with a group of 40+ people with different singing abilities and a large amount of music to tackle during the next 24 hours. The sound you managed to get us to produce by the end was solely due to your musical expertise and endless patience.

I found the CD’s very useful beforehand particularly where both the full and part version were included.

The music you chose was beautiful – particularly the Gounod with the organ interludes which made the hairs on the back of my head stand on end.

I enjoyed the evening meals which were an excellent opportunity to get to know others on the holiday.

Thanks again Jeff and I am looking forward to the next time I can join you for another weekend of music making.
Sue Marshall

Hi Jeff, I wish to add my thanks to you for a thoroughly well organised weekend in Gloucester and for some sound teaching. It is one thing to ‘bark’ at notes on a page and quite another to support a musical sound by means of good coaching. I experienced the latter in great measure. What a venue! What a great chorus!
Michael Donovan

Thank you so much for your hard work and immense patience over the weekend. Despite being somewhat shattered by Sunday afternoon, I really enjoyed myself, and it was very good for me to be challenged so much. Like everyone else, I felt incredibly privileged to be singing in such a glorious location, and to be able to learn entirely new pieces of music. As always, your tuition was fantastic, and I have learnt a huge amount in a very short space of time. I would be delighted to repeat the weekend.
As at Milton Abbey, it was great to get to know some lovely people, and to spend time socialising with the more familiar faces.
Diana Ellison

For someone like myself coming with raw ability and very little experience being able to aspire along with those more accomplished who have a regular grounding in choral singing is a definite benefit. The fabulous music chosen, with you at the helm with your expertise and encouragement, so quickly and efficiently honing us to an acceptable choir never ceases to amaze, it was incredible. Looking back it is awe-inspiring to have been ‘The Choir’ for those services in a magnificent cathedral, without your professional direction we could not have achieved it. You have a patient way that accepts our imperfections and miraculously manages to enable us to produce a more than adequate, to my untrained ear anyway, rendition of the fabulous pieces we were singing.

I think the idea of the choral holiday is such a great angle to be coming from socially. The pleasure of meeting with people who are becoming familiar faces because they’ve experienced Choral Holidays before and have come back for more, but equally the almost immediate rapport with newcomers who are there, like the rest of us for the joy of making music together is tangible. We all came away I feel sure from talking to others, with a glow of camaraderie and sunshine on those magnificent surroundings but conscious it could not have happened without you. Looking forward to the next time.
Jo Stewart

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Having just returned from a wonderful singing weekend at Gloucester Cathedral I must congratulate you on the organisation of the three days, the music and cd beforehand, and all details down to the pencil and bottle of water at the rehearsals. Everything went very smoothly. It was much enjoyed by all 44 in the choir, and those in the congregation who told us afterwards how much they enjoyed our singing.
Here’s to Gloucester Cathedral again next February!
Margaret Couling

Back to work today with a vengeance but with fond memories of our Gloucester weekend. We had such a good time and I loved every moment in the cathedral. Thank you so much for all your hard work. You have an amazing knack of getting everyone to pull together in a very limited time. I would have loved to have snuck to the back of the cathedral to listen to us but that is a luxury we do not have.
Stuart King

Thanks for organising a lovely weekend – I thoroughly enjoyed it and the weather was kind too.
Anne Silk

Milton Abbey 2013

It definitely exceeded my expectations in that I was nervous about being the only inexperienced singer there – I was, but it didn’t matter at all!
I particularly liked how welcoming everyone was, and the quality of the coaching/music direction. The vocal exercises and the focus on the having fun and expressing the meaning of the music were extremely valuable.
Polly Waddilove

I want to say a big thank you to you for such a wonderful weekend of singing.I found it a real spiritual experience – the music continues to go round in my head. The food was excellent and the accomodation comfortable.
It is always daunting to be a part of something where you are not going to know anybody else. I didn’t know quite what to expect but everyone was so friendly.
Sue Marshall

The lack of pressure – a reminder that singing is joyful and is the most wonderful expression of creativity and emotion. The acoustic in the Abbey when we stopped singing and the sound carried on was thrilling. Also the amazing energy, enthusiasm and commitment of everyone involved in running the weekend.
Gill Mullinar

Enjoyed all the rehearsals and the singing in the abbey which was awesome. Loved Jeff’s musical direction giving me the chance to have such a good ‘sing’. The friendliness of everyone and the delicious communal meals in the beautiful Abbot’s Hall.
Margaret Walker

The choice of music was brilliant, although completely different to anything I’ve attempted with the military wives. The pace was fair but challenging for me however extremely enjoyable all the same. I love the ethos of just having a go and trusting the notes will come to you. Most of them did! I have been so inspired I have even contacted my local choral society in Bedford to
see if they may entertain the idea of me joining them.
Jacqueline Hockley

I particularly enjoyed those rare spine-tingling moments when we were singing in the King’s room. Hearing the walls of the Abbey ringing with our voices. Jeff’s various entertaining exercises! Meeting and having the chance to talk and relax as well as sing with like-minded people from all over the UK. I thought everyone was lovely and the way that a random selection of individuals came together so quickly into what felt like a great choir was absolutely wonderful! Nuna Staniaszek

I had no idea what to expect so it was a very pleasant surprise and I would definitely do something like this again and I would have been happy to be there on my own.
Marion Greenleaves

It was so much better than I expected in every way: a really friendly and enthusiastic group, an inspirational conductor, a beautiful place with excellent food, and just a wonderful experience altogether.
Sue O’Hare

I really enjoyed the weekend (so much so I’m coming to Gloucester) and was particularly grateful to the excellent kitchen staff who really went out of their way to help with my dieatary requirements, which made it much less stressful than it could have been!
Sarah Marshall – Ellison

Southwell 2012

I just wanted to say a massive ‘thank-you’ for Southwell.
As I said after the service, it was one of the the most inspiring
and enjoyable things I’ve ever been involved in.
David Borrill

It was a most enjoyable couple of days and I certainly enjoyed it. I did appreciate the care you took in getting us to understand the words – particularly with the psalms (however obscure they were on occasions) – which is something that few conductors bother to do.We also all particularly enjoyed the workshop on Monday morning although the whirring didn’t help the remains of the previous night’s excellent repast which was still coursing through my veins! It was my first trip to Southwell and if nothing else I shall have excellent memories of a fun couple of days with a great bunch of people in a most beautiful part of the country.
Gus Orchard

We enjoyed the Southwell trip very much. It was the first time we had got all 3 generations away to participate in anything like that, and it was the greatest joy to my mother who had the best weekend musically, socially and in all ways.Personally the part I gained most from was the section in the Great Hall exploring the emotional aspects of singing. It is very hard to accommodate everyone’s requirements and considering the mixed group we were, you gave a great couple a days away. The best thing about these sort of events is the meeting of like minds to create something out of nothing. Being away from the day to day bustle and concentrating on something completely different is refreshing, and I think for most people it was about right.
Lucy Orchard

Milton Abbey 2012

Great value for money…
food/wine and all school staff excellent…
…and a REALLY big pat on the back – I heard nothing but praise for you, both as a conductor and a host.
Deb Dobson

The location and the food are excellent- as has been the tutor.
Great music and a very sympathetic approach to developing an undertstanding of it.
Diaries permitting, we will be back next year.
Bill Gloyn

Everything was perfect.
Jane Salisbury

Excellent musical experience. Enjoyed the camaraderie of like minded singers. VEry good accommodation. Excellent venue. Looking forward to another break with Choral Holidays.
Roger Johnson

Excellent food and hospitality. Good music choices, well rehearsed. Well done!
Brenda Large

The Choral Holiday has been a wonderful experience. Very nice environment (being outside of cell phone reach is brilliant to switch off regular life and fully dedicate yourself to singing), great people, perfect organisation, nice informal atmosphere. As a newby to choir singing, I really felt guided well and with the weekend progressing I got more and more confident.
Food has been delicious.
The choral holiday has convinced me that choral singing is something for me to do. I am certainly interested in participating next time.
Steven Van Boxel

Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the weekend. There is nothing I would change.
Colin Smith

I have had a really fabulous weekend. The practices were well organized and well run. As ever, your usual high standard.
All the documentation & music etc – excellent.
Thanks for a brilliant time.
Chris Hooper

Thanks Jeff. Brilliant! Interesting location, amazing food + great singing.
Cathy Stone

It was a PERFECT weekend! I just wish it could have been longer. Will certainly recommend ChoralHolidays to all my friends.
Karen Benny

I’m delighted I came. It has been a most enjoyable weekend. Jeff has such a warm and inviting enthusiasm; it’s infectious, so the sessions make you want to sing out and not hold back – really get into the music and the voice blending.
Learning about psalm singing has been one of the highlights of the weekend. Challenging but also so lovely.
The food has been excellent with catering that can handle special needs with no fuss. Love the Abbey setting. The fire in the refectory was particularly welcoming.
I would definitely do it again and, if I don’t find I have conflicts in my schedule, I would love to do Southwell.
Donna Moore

A really enjoyable time. I love your approach to teaching us and I was lovely to be in company with so many young voices. the food was great. I would do it again.
Anita Gardner

I appreciated the positive and encouraging approach.
Leslie Dodds

I have really enjoyed the venue, company, food (!) and your direction.
David Hofman

Set in that wonderful Abbey and with our voices enhanced by fabulous accoustics , at first practice it seemed to be quickly realised, because of your personality, sense of humour and ability to project a sense of reassurance, there was no need for nervousness. It’s great in that situation to have the confidence that you are in the hands of one who is able, not only to instruct, but also to inspire the best along with the least talented.
Jo Stewart

Florence

What a great holiday! We can’t stop talking about it! A perfect combination – inspired tuition and music and singing venues, friendship, rural location, yoga, not to mention food and wine……. Allegra, Frederico and Jonathan and you made a great team, and we were appreciative of the time and input of you all to give us such a great time. I particularly appreciated your supportive, non-critical support to Bryan, who, initially apprehensive, found a sense of achievement and new horizons. we shall be logging on regularly with a view to joining you again.
Liz and Bryan

 

Absolutely Wondeful setting. Very enjoyable & Interesting rehearsal. The yoga was just brilliant with a sympathetic approach. It was great to sing in the varous locations. The team could not have been nicer; helpful, amusing & talented- full marks
Judy

 

Perfect location. The food was faultless and delicious every day. The excursions were wonderful. The choice of music was perfect and the standard of training the highest possible, both as a group and individually. What a sound we all created. Would we come again? Try and keep us away!
Angela & Nick

 

It was wonderful to go on a Choral Holiday. It surpassed my expectations.Every day there was variety. Much thought had been put into producing a fantastic time.
Sylvia

 

The venue was great as was the food. The music choice was perfect nd the standard we attained was great. The yoga was good on the days when I took part and the excursions were excellent, all of great interest. The Choral holidays staff were great, all friendly, helpful and hardworking.
Mike

 

Can’t thank you enough for such a fabulous week, you all put so much in, can’t wait for the next one!
Anne

 

The venue was great, lovely setting. The food choices were excellent, wine generous. The Lamole evening was outstanding. The lunches you provided were perfect. The music chosen was beautiful and the end results were magic. When we all worked together, you made it fun. With our very mixed abilities, we all seemed to matter to you and this drove us on. The people who had individual tuition from you were profuse in their praise of your talent for this and were staggered at what you helped them to achieve. The yoga I attended was very pleasurable and I would like to do more. Allegra had a real way with her.
Jo

 

Milton Abbey

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

 

Wonderful; the location, singing in a lovely building, Jeff’s encouragemnt. I enjoyed everything.
Ann Stephens

 

10 out of 10
Maureen Hyam

 

Not sure what I was expecting, but it has been great! Particularly enjoyed the music – of course, including the leadership and constructive advice on singing. Also good food and good company.
Kathy Percival

 

Such a beautiful place. No one thing made this holiday an enjoyable and memorable experience – it was a combination of several things. It was a weekend out of time, spent doing what I enjoy most, i.e. singing, in beautiful surroundings, with good food and good company, and all under the genial tutelage of Jeff. I was impressed by the attention to detail – pencils and water were provided at rehearsal, the practice disc.
Elaine Tapley

 

Considering it’s a school, Milton Abbey provided an excellent standard of accommodation – the beds were comfortable and the food was top notch (lucky pupils) both in quality and quantity. The grounds were stunning, the scenery was awesome. The mix of like minded people worked well too.
Anne Turpin

 

Beautiful location in a remote, rural community. Ideal for music making. Singing in a wonderful acoustic.
Stuart King

 

It would be very difficulty to improve on the experience.
Chris Yeates

 

Spectacular setting, brilliant acoustics in the Abbey. Staff at the school very helpful. Particularly enjoyed Jeff’s leading of the choir; inspiring us to see the meaning in the music, meeting other singers, and the chocolate pudding!
Tabitha Smith

 

I was impressed that we had the music and disc beforehand – a great help. Room comfortable, great area, beautiful buildings, meals very good, staff very pleasant. Particularly enjoyed meeting such a variety of very friendly people.
Avice Turner

 

Top class instruction, great and like minded company. Fabulous surroundings, super food. All our cleverly encouraged progress rewarded in the heavenly music chosen for the final service. Who can ask for more? Don’t think twice just get involved and allow yourseelf to appreciate and experience what we have been so fortunate to have had the undoubted pleasure of this weekend. Nervous though I was before hand, not having sung in a choir for 50 years, I am so excited about Florence! Well done Jeff you have such a gift.
Jo Stewart

 

 

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King's Room, Milton Abbey

 

 

 

 

City of Florence

 

 

 

 

Rhos y Gilwen

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