England Chronicles: Chamber Singers Homebound After England Singing Tour

Forty-six chorus members. Twelve days in England. Four historic cathedrals. Seven Choral Evensongs sung. One benefit concert performed.

Immeasurable experiences and learning.

The Chamber Singers are en route back to Knoxville after a whirlwind tour that saw them performing in historic Canterbury Cathedral and Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in Canterbury, and St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London. In between rehearsals and performances, they sandwiched in bus and boat tours of countryside, dined in quaint pubs, and visited historic castles and famous landmarks.

The Chamber Singers inside Saint Paul's Cathedral in London.

The Chamber Singers inside Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London.

“It’s been a wonderful trip. I’ve seen the kids learn and grow. It’s been so wonderful to watch, particularly, the younger ones who have never been overseas before experience a whole new world,” said Professor Angela Batey, associate dean for diversity in the College of Arts and Sciences, who conducts the Chamber Singers.

The chorus finished its string of performances on Tuesday evening by singing Choral Evensong in world-famous Westminster Abbey.

Chamber Singer Simon Hogg sits at the organ inside Saint Paul's Cathedral in London.

Chamber Singer Simon Hogg sits at the organ inside Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Since 1066, every English monarch has been crowned in the abbey. It is the burial site of seventeen monarchs. The cathedral is like a museum, filled with paintings, stained glass, the United Kingdom’s most significant single collection of sculptures, and other artifacts.

The abbey has been the venue for some of the most memorable events in England’s recent past. It was the setting for Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, the funeral of Queen Mother Elizabeth in 2002; and the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

The chorus members got to spend Wednesday on their own, visiting sites around London.

Inside Saint Paul's Cathedral in London.

Inside Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Graduate student Eric Hill describes the trip to England to sing in the historic cathedrals as “mind blowing.”

Landon Paul, a graduate teaching assistant traveling with the group, said he’s enjoyed the trip — and he knows his fellow Chamber Singers have too.

“It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “There’s only a handful of folks who can ever say they’ve sung in these venues. For us to be invited to come and sing here … is an incredible opportunity and one we’ll never forget.”

The entourage is due to arrive back in Knoxville around 11:00 p.m. today.

Two members of UT’s Video and Photography Center traveled with the choral group to chronicle the adventure with photos and videos that have been shared during the trip via UT’s website and social media. The UT videographers will now 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.

 

Reports of the Chamber Singers’ trip have been shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The students have been chronicling their adventures by using the hashtag #VolSingersUK on Twitter and Instagram.

The trip was 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.

CONTACT:

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