England Chronicles: Chamber Singers Tour, Perform in Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury_Buttermarket

The forty-six-member chorus attend a welcome dinner at Old Buttermarket Pub on Sunday.

This week is already shaping up to be a jolly good experience for the UT Chamber Singers, who are in England for a twelve-day tour during which they’ll perform in some of the country’s most historic and best-known cathedrals.

The forty-six-member chorus arrived in Canterbury over the weekend and attended a welcome dinner at Old Buttermarket Pub on Sunday.

Canterbury_tour

The Chamber Singers take a private guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral prior to their first rehearsal and performance there.

On Monday, they toured historic Canterbury Cathedral and performed a Choral Evensong there.

Canterbury Cathedral dates back to AD 597 when Saint Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great as a missionary, established his seat in Canterbury. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the cathedral. Ever since, the cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims, as told famously in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Choral Evensong is a form of worship that includes preces and responses, a call-and-response form of singing, and the chanting of psalms by the choir, a practice that dates back centuries.

A video diary of their first day can been seen online.

Canterbury_Performance

The Chamber Singers perform their first Choral Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral.

Today, the Chamber Singers will tour Leeds Castle in Kent, sometimes called “the loveliest castle in the world”; Dover Castle, which is England’s largest castle; and the Secret War Tunnels, built as underground barracks during the Napoleonic Wars and converted into an air raid shelter, military command center, and underground hospital during World War II.

Aside from participating in Choral Evensongs, the Chamber Singers will be presenting a benefit concert at Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in Canterbury, with the proceeds from the event going to help restore church windows damaged by Nazi bombs during World War II.

Canterbury_Rehearsal

Angela Batey, professor and associate dean for diversity in the College of Arts and Sciences, leads the Chamber Singers in a rehearsal in Canterbury Cathedral. Batey coordinated the group’s trip

Two members of UT’s Video and Photography Center are traveling with the choral group to chronicle the adventure with photos and videos that will be shared during the trip via UT’s website and social media. Students on the trip will also be sharing Periscope videos on Twitter during the week. When they return, the UT videographers will produce a documentary about the trip will be featured on utk.edu and UT’s social media, and may be shown on Knoxville’s East Tennessee PBS channel.

The trip is the third choral sojourn for the group. In 2012, they traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland to perform in some that area’s most famous cathedrals. They went to Carnegie Hall in 2007.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)