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Jesus College, Oxford

Turl Street, Oxford OX1 3DW
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Choir tour to Krakow 2011 Choir tour to Krakow 2011

Choir Tours

Choir Tour 22-26 June 2013 to Cologne and Bonn, Germany

2013 took the Jesus College Chapel Choir to the cities of Cologne and Bonn in Germany. Cologne is a city dominated by its magnificent Gothic cathedral, in which we sang evensong, and Bonn has a rich musical history having had Beethoven and Schumann as residents. Our five day trip, which was organised by James, the Junior Organ Scholar, and musically directed by Joseph, the Senior Organ Scholar, was filled with a mixture of singing, sightseeing and absorbing German culture.

As well as singing evensong in Cologne Cathedral, we sang Sunday mass and a short concert in the church of St Maria Magdalena in Bonn. The choir also sang two concerts, one in Bonn University Chapel (the Schlosskirche) and another in St Nikolaus Church in Cologne. The latter of the two was a particularly successful end to our trip as the audience was packed. Our programme featured works by Byrd and Tallis but also included a madrigal by Thomas Morley.

Whilst not singing, we spent our time doing a wide range of activities, both musical and otherwise. One of the trips to Bonn included a trip to the Schumann-Haus, and another took in the Beethoven-Haus. Many members of the choir visited the impressive Cologne Zoo, and on our final day our activities included visiting the Roman Museum and Museum Ludwig in the centre of Cologne, a boat trip down the Rhine and further exploring the cathedral and city centre.

The whole choir had a wonderful time on tour and would like to thank James for organising a fantastic trip.

The choir, recorded in concert at St Nikolaus Church, Cologne:

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.