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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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 marksJudy
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
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