Apart from a trip to Prince Edward Island with my darling wife Stephanie, I haven’t been this far east in Canada before. As we headed out from Toronto we seemed to be retracing our steps right back to the UK, but then dropped down onto a beautiful snow-clad island full of brightly-coloured houses and friendly inhabitants, for last night’s performance with the Atlantic Boychoir.
The continental European tradition of boychoirs is different even from our own British choral tradition. Whereas at home, our choirs exist in order to sing the daily services in the cathedrals, college chapels and churches of the nation, in Europe the boychoirs have sprung up for the sake of performance, recording and touring. They are often larger, and instead of short rehearsals followed by a service almost immediately thereafter they tend to rehearse for several weeks before embarking on a concert series or tour. This lends them an air of professionalism that some English choirs of men and boys can lack, for their function is intrinsically different.
Around a year ago, Canada’s first boychoir was set up by a choral director originally from the Czech Republic, an area where such choirs are common. And they’re doing well – last night’s concert was testament to that – although it’ll take a while before they’re totally comfortable in performance. You can’t just create a choir overnight, but they’re on the road to success. We performed in the beautiful Basilica here in St John’s, and the concert included Bob Chilcott’s “A Thanksgiving” amongst other GOLD tracks taken from our album. As a first international concert of 2018 it was a great place to start – there was always going to be a bit of a come-down after the two exciting anniversary concerts in London and Cambridge, and this was a nice way to kick-start our touring.
Speaking of those concerts in the UK, it would be wrong of me not to include a huge vote of thanks to all who attended the two shows, last Saturday and Tuesday evenings. They represented the culmination of years of work, preparation, recording and strategy meetings! We were delighted with the reception from the audience, former KS members, our families and friends, and if the rest of the year follows in the same vein we’re in for an awesome ride!
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