Choir Tour 3-9 July 2011 to Lisbon, Portugal
The annual Choir tour represents the culmination of a year's work. Throughout the academic year we are found in the College Chapel but the tour gives us a chance to sing different music, explore a new area and enjoy time together without the pressures of academic work. The 2011 tour saw the Choir in the historic city of Lisbon.
The entire tour was organised by organ scholar, Philippa Winstanley. Having spent the summer exam term hunched over desks, she ensured our fitness by finding an excellent hostel perched up a steep hill. On our first morning, after a vocal warm up, she ensured we became orientated by booking us onto a walking tour. Our excellent local guide gave us interesting insights into Lisbon's history and culture. This proved an excellent start to a memorable week.
Philippa had arranged for concerts in major venues including Restaurados Casa do Alenteio, Baixa, the National Pantheon, Alfama, the Igreja de São Roque, Chiado, and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Belém. Each concert went very well. We received a standing ovation in the National Pantheon, and the sound of the choir singing in the courtyard of the Mosteiro doe Jerónimos filled the surrounding cloisters and the church, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere. A guided tour around the venues meant we also learned relevant historical and cultural information to the area, and gained a real understanding of each venue before we began performing.
The six days had been action packed. Amongst the four concerts, we had a day trip to Sintra and Cascais, including a tour of Pena Palace, which ended in a refreshing dip in the sea at Cascais. This important relaxation day allowed the Choir to enjoy the wonderful fish dishes of Cascais, visit the best ice-cream parlour of Portugal, and undertaking some much deserved sun-bathing. Spurred on from the cultural and relaxing day, the subsequent concerts were excellent.
While we came out feeling that we had performed well as a choir, we had also learned a great deal more individually about the city of Lisbon, its culture, and its heritage.
For any more information on Choir tours in general, do contact the Organ Scholars.