US tour comes to an end with a good review from the St Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted on: 13 April 2016
The Choir's two-week US tour came to an end on Friday 8 April with a concert in Cathedral Basilica of St Louis, Missouri.
The fifteen day tour saw the Choir travel across the country, appearing in concert in six cities. Presenting a programme of music by English composers, the tour’s concerts showcased the rich Anglican choral tradition of which the Choir is a leading exponent, performing music by William Byrd written at the time of the College's founding in 1511, and by Henry Purcell as the Choir began its life in the 1670s. There was also more modern repertoire, including music commissioned from Jonathan Dove by Andrew Nethsingha in 2009, and a work written especially for the Choir by James Burton this year. The programme also included The Annunciation, written for the Choir by College alumnus, Jonathan Harvey just months before his death in 2012, previewing the recording of Harvey’s music by St John’s College Choir, is due to be released on 20 May 2016. As St John’s is committed to the commissioning of new works, the tour provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the way in which Nethsingha and the Choir are continuing to enrich the repertoire with new music.
The tour began on 29 March in California, where the Choir were guests of Stanford University for the first time, presenting two concerts as part of University’s ‘Stanford Live’ series. Former St John’s Organ Scholar Robert Huw Morgan is now University Organist at Stanford and it was at the University’s Memorial Church that the Choir will performed its tour programme. The following evening saw the Choir join with the Stanford University Chorale and Orchestra to sing to a capacity audience in a programme including Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, at the University’s 800-seat Bing Hall.
The Choir then flew to the East Coast to make a much-anticipated return to Washington DC, where it had not appeared for over 20 years. After a concert at the Washington National Cathedral on 3 April, the Choir moved to New York City and a poignant event at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue. Former St John’s Organ Student John Scott went on to become Director of Music at Saint Thomas, conducting the church’s internationally renowned choir until his sudden death in August 2015. The Choir of St John’s was proud to perform at Fifth Avenue on 5 April as part of a season of concerts dedicated to the memory of Scott’s life and work.
In Atlanta on 7 April, the Choir sang at the Cathedral of St Philip, where alumnus Dale Adelmann is now Canon for Music. Adelmann, a Choral Scholar from 1987-90 was the first North American to sing with the Choir of St John’s, beginning a tradition still in evidence today as this tour brought two American choristers to perform in their native US.
There were further excellently received return visits to Greenwich, Connecticut on 4 April, for a concert at Christ Church and to the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis, Missouri on 8 April before the Choir returned to the UK.