Tour Report 2022

This year, after several postponements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the choir enjoyed an exciting tour of the East Coast of the USA, performing in churches and cathedrals in places encompassing New York City, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, as well as along the stunning coastlines of Rhode Island and Cape Cod. On behalf of the choir, tour organisers Jemma Jeffery and Tom Baycroft would like to express a deep gratitude to all those who came to our concert, brought CDs, fed us, and graciously opened their homes to us.

After departing Heathrow on the 2nd of July, our group of 27 (comprised of undergraduates, graduates, Christ’s students, students from other colleges and alumni - as well as Director of Music, Professor David Rowland) arrived at Dulles International Airport, ready and excited (albeit jet-lagged) for a rehearsal at our first concert venue: Westminster Presbyterian Church. 

The next morning, we sang in the church’s service before giving a concert where we debuted alumna Annabel Rooney’s (m.1991) ‘Round me falls the night’ and ‘Keep me as the apple of the eye’. The beautifully colourful nature of her music enticed many audiences - with her CDs selling out the fastest on tour! After the concert, the choir enjoyed some downtime to explore DC. A huge thank you to the hosts who gave their time kindly showing us around the main attractions; members particularly enjoyed the view from the Old Post Office Tower, the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. 

On the 4th of July, the choir travelled to St. John’s, Norwood, for a rehearsal before having the rest of the day off to celebrate (despite the irony) American Independence Day. After Christ’s Alumna, Janet Satterthwaite (m. 1982), very generously gave the choir a lunchtime feast, the choir headed down to watch the fireworks from down on the Mall - a truly unforgettable experience! 

The next day, the choir enjoyed performing at St. John’s, Norwood, before travelling to St. Anne’s in Annapolis the following day. Here members were able to explore the naval town and its rich history before a rehearsal and concert. With little time for rest, the choir proceeded to give two more concerts over the next two days at Christ Church Christiana Hundred, Wilmington, and at St John’s, Lancaster - where our encore (an a cappella arrangement by Bob Chilcott of the Billy Joel classic ‘And So It Goes’) was met with heartfelt applause and many a teary eye!

On the 9th of July, a concert in Philadelphia provided the opportunity for many choir members to try a Philly steak before our concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Continuing on with the busy schedule, the choir gave two more concerts in New Jersey before arriving in New York City on the 12th July for some time to rest - and regain some lost voices! For many, New York was a highlight of the trip, and choir members enjoyed central park, the Staten Island ferry, all the museums and art galleries, and even got to enjoy a broadway show in the evening! However, New York was also bittersweet, for it was when our Director of Music, Professor David Rowland, was scheduled to return home.

Still buzzing from New York, on the 13th July, the choir gave a concert at Christ Church in Riverdale. Notably, this was organ scholar Davon Halim’s (m.2021) USA conducting debut and he conducted the choir for the rest of the tour (despite, rather amazingly, being the youngest person on tour!). After a concert in Norwalk, Connecticut, on the 14th, the choir made their way towards the beautiful coast lines of Rhode Island for a concert at The Zabriskie Memorial Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Newport. Rather excitingly, the choir got to sing Hubert Parry’s ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ with the choir of St. John’s who we would like to thank for singing with us and creating the big sound that Parry’s work is intended for. 

Continuing up the coast, on the 16th July the choir gave a concert at Saint Barnabas Church in Falmouth. To the enthusiasm of many, this concert was the first time the choir sung the full collection of Hubert Parry’s ‘Songs of Farewell’ on tour. The 17th July was a day off for the choir - which for many involved resting on the beautiful beaches of Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard.

After a concert at St. Christopher’s, Chatham, on the 18th, arriving in Plymouth on the 19th provided the perfect location for the annual football match - where the two sides of the choir (Decani, #allhandsonDEC, and Cantoris, #yesweCAN) are pitted against each other. Even wit some challenges made to the referee (Alto Alex Duncan), Cantoris continued their winning streak, winning 4-0. Despite the high-tensions during football, the choir put their disputes aside to give a concert that evening at Christ’s Church.


Rejuvenated by the salt, sun and sand, the choir entered into the final third of tour, taking the train to Boston on the 20th and getting to explore some of the city - highlights include the Freedom Trail, Quincy Market and exploring Harvard University -  before a concert at Trinity Parish of Newton Centre. 


After this brief city break, the coach journey from Boston to Vermont the next day took the choir through some strikingly breathtaking scenery (not to mention a tornado!) but after such a journey, the choir found themselves in the beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral, Burlington, in time for a packed sunset concert with views of Lake Champlain. 


Our penultimate concert was at St. Paul’s in Concord on the 23rd before our final concert at First Parish Congregational Church in Wakefield on the 24th - where many choir members, some of for whom this was their final ever performance with the choir, shed a tear (along with many audience members!).

On the 25th, the choir was able to squeeze in a few more sights of Boston before flying back to London Heathrow, arriving back with amazing memories, friendships and the music still ringing in our ears.