The choir's tour to Sicily was such a brilliant experience. Spending the week singing and exploring the island, all as part of an enthusiastic and tight-knit group, has definitely been one of the highlights of my time at LMH.
Our tour to Sicily Took our choir and our programme of English and Italian music around the coast from Palermo to Syracuse to the appreciative ears of many Italians for whom hearing choral music is a rare privilege. We were so well received and were humbled by an invite to the Archbishop’s palace in Messina for dinner.
The choir sang together surprisingly well after months apart over the summer. A quick rehearsal in the hotel blew away many of the cobwebs and our singing just improved from there on in. Our final concert, which followed two sung masses earlier in the day, featured some of the finest choral singing the LMH choir have achieved the whole year. Each concert or mass provided different acoustics and accompaniments and the choir adapted to each; these also made singing the same repertoire much more entertaining and challenging. There were some particularly rousing renditions of Widor’s ‘Tantum Ergo’ and some powerful Stanford mixed in with some sensitive Palestrina and Tavener.
We were fortunate to sing in some of the most impressive and beautiful buildings in Sicily. The cathedral at Messina was enormous with an organ to match - and Guy indulged himself during his solo in our concert. Syracuse’s cathedral was smaller and required a different approach; we sang much more unaccompanied music, listening to each other closely as if we were a chamber choir.
The choir has been unable to spend that much time together throughout the year so it was nice for everyone to get to know each other better - and judging by how much fun we all had, there was some sadness in the knowledge that this tour was the last time this edition of the LMH choir would sing and tour together. There was an award ceremony after our final dinner together, featuring such accolades as ‘Most likely to get lost’ and ‘Best dancer’, as well as a chance to hear rousing speeches from our senior organ scholar Josie and the maestro himself. I’m sure the choir would agree that our best night followed dinner on Sunday (the day of two masses and a concert) when we disturbed what seemed to have been quite a relaxed music bar. We had great fun, weather, food and music and hopefully the unity in our singing and the friendships within the choir will roll on into future years and future tours.