Tour Report: Rome 2014

 

In a new enterprise for the Boys’ Choir, this tour was undertaken jointly with the Choir of St Giles’ Parish Church, Oxford.  The itinerary was expertly organised by Dr Nicholas Prozzillo (Director of Music at St Giles’) and both choirs enjoyed performing and socialising together over the course of the tour.  The choir performed at all four of Rome’s basilicas – the music list for the tour can be viewed here.

Friday 25th July

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA bright and early start at our convent accommodation in the centre of Rome (right next to the Colosseum) was the first time that the complete party was gathered together (having travelled separately over the course of the previous day), and we wasted no time in heading for our first sightseeing engagement – Castel Sant’ Angelo.  We all greatly enjoyed looking around the castle and particularly the resplendent views across to St Peter’s Basilica.

Our afternoon was spent rehearsing in All Saints’ Anglican Church, which was vital as this was the first time that this group of singers had sung together as a choir.  A very useful two hours was spent going over the tour’s repertoire, directed by Worcester College’s Organ Scholars, Dr Prozzillo and the Organ Scholar of St Giles’, Twm Watkins.

Some further sight-seeing (in smaller groups) followed, before an excellent meal in a restaurant close to the Pantheon.  An enjoyable first day to the tour.

Saturday 26th July

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA busy day of musical engagements awaited us.  We headed first for San Paolo fuori le Mura, where we would be performing a concert.  The repertoire consisted of music performed by the massed choir, smaller ensemble items featuring the adult members of St Giles’ and Worcester Choirs, alongside an item from just the boy trebles.  It was a tremendous experience to sing inside this vast building and we all enjoyed looking around it once we had finished performing.

Then, after an afternoon’s rest in the convent, it was to Santa Maria Maggiore to sing mass.  We were warmly welcomed by the clergy and sang for Mass which was held in the main body of the church.  Once again, there was the opportunity for individual sections of the choir to perform items, alongside the full choir’s singing.  The choir led the congregation in plainchant, alongside performing music for the liturgy of the mass.

Tired but satisfied, it was time for dinner and thence to bed.

Sunday 27th July

IMG_1211A second busy day of singing, beginning at San Giovanni in Laterano where we again contributed to their Mass service.  Another glorious building; it was a real privilege to be part of their service.

We then hot-footed it to Vatican City, where we were to be singing Mass at St Peter’s.  The choir dealt very well, having negotiated a very hot and lengthy queue, to sing brilliantly and end the tour in very memorable fashion.

Monday 28th July

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur musical commitments complete, the tour concluded with a morning’s sight-seeing at the Forum and Colosseum.  We all enjoyed an excellent tour from Mr Sillett (St Giles’ choir member and classicist) and relished the opportunity to observe these iconic sights at close quarters.

Following a restaurant lunch, it was time for us to head our separate ways.  Thanks are due to Dr Nicholas Prozzillo for his immense work in organising such an enjoyable tour and for inviting the Worcester College Boys’ Choir to be part of it.  Thank you also to all the parents and choral scholars who worked together to make this such a fun trip.  There can be no better finish to a year’s singing than performing in St Peter’s Basilica!

Nicholas Freestone

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