England Chronicles: Chamber Singers Tour Historic Castles in Kent

Chamber singers Heather Gamble, Haley Retterer, Ashton Brooke, Rachel Brown, and Taylor Stone on the edge of the English Channel with the White Cliffs of Dover in the background.

Chamber singers Heather Gamble, Haley Retterer, Ashton Brooke, Rachel Brown, and Taylor Stone on the edge of the English Channel with the White Cliffs of Dover in the background.

Castles, more Choral Evensong performances in Canterbury Cathedral, and a benefit concert in another famous church.

These are among the adventures in the repertoire of UT Chamber Singers, who will soon be halfway through their twelve-day tour of England, where they are performing in some of the country’s most historic and best-known cathedrals.

Dover Castle

Dover Castle

The forty-six-member chorus—conducted by Professor Angela Batey, associate dean for diversity in the College of Arts and Sciences—spent Tuesday touring historic castles in the English countryside.

First, they visited picturesque Leeds Castle, which sits on 500 acres in Kent. The 900-year-old castle has seen many uses over the years. It has been a Norman stronghold, the private property of six medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an early twentieth-century retreat for notable visitors; and now one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain.

Chamber Singers walk atop Dover Castle.

Chamber Singers walk atop Dover Castle.

They also visited Dover Castle, which sits atop the famous White Cliffs of Dover, and walked on the beach along the English Channel. Dover is major ferry port in the county of Kent, in southeast England. It faces France across the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel.

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle

The group performed a second Choral Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral on Wednesday and spent part of Wednesday rehearsing in St. Peter’s Anglican Church, where they will present a benefit concert tonight. Proceeds from the event will help restore church windows damaged by Nazi bombs during World War II.

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. When they return, the UT videographers will produce a documentary about the trip, which will be featured on utk.edu and UT’s social media, and may be shown on Knoxville’s East Tennessee PBS channel.

Two chamber singers pause for a photo on the grounds of Leeds Castle.

Two chamber singers pause for a photo on the grounds of Leeds Castle.

View the latest video of the group’s adventure here.

Keep up with the Chamber Singers during their trip by following UT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The students are also chronicling their adventures by using the hashtag #VolSingersUK on Twitter and Instagram.

Chamber Singers Jordan Cross, left, and Evan Headrick engage in a friendly sword fight in front of Leeds Castle.

Chamber Singers Jordan Cross, left, and Evan Headrick engage in a friendly sword fight in front of Leeds Castle.

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)