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Touring with your choir - our experiences of beautiful Riga

Updated: Jun 12

For the last 20 or so years my choirs have been touring, in that time we have run a series of tours taking the composer's music back to the church they worked in.

We visited Venice (singing Vivaldi's Gloria in his church) Paris (Faure requiem), Liechtenstein (Music of Rheinberger), Budapest, Prague, Ireland, Scotland and the USA three times!

This years return to international touring was to Riga, Latvia - assisted in our organisation by Baltic Breeze Tours.

After some unfortunate flight problems with KLM which involved some singers in an unplanned trip to Denmark along the way, and a concert that had to start with ten singers as the rest were returning for their unplanned detour, the whole tour went very well.

The audiences in all the concert venues were full and very appreciative of the music,

everything from Esenvalds to Randall Thompson, John Goss to Johannes Eccard and the Sunday morning church service and St Saviours Anglican church was a delight to be involved in.

Riga itself was sunny( but cold) rather beautiful in the old town and with stunning architecture, reasonably priced food through the 'Lido' chain and a very nice hotel, the whole tour was a resounding success.

Some people ask why choirs go on tour, is it not just a lot of work to organise for such a short time away, well there is that side to it, but it is about a choir bonding excercise, over a few days you make more music than some choirs do in a year, the choir mixes much more, the singers come to regard it more as 'their choir' rather than the choir they sing in and that leads to an increased level of interest not just in the music but in all aspects of the choir and it also leads to a better blend between the singers.

You step into beautiful buildings that you soon have to get accustomed to in terms of acoustics and how the sound travels, there are strange and wonderful Organs to be mastered, choir positioning and other logistics ( toilets seem to be a major consideration) before a note can be sung, however in Riga, as in most of the other destinations mentioned above, there are audiences far bigger than we would expect at home, and seemingly with a much higher level of interest, our concert was just one of 3 other choral concerts in Riga that evening, we have no reason to suspect that they were anything other than as full as ours!

So go on, if you are thinking of touring - just take the leap, we can put you in touch with a couple of fine tour operators that can help you, and also one of our acclaimed books '365 tips to a more successful choir' contains a section on touring that may help answer your questions, we can even offer you a workshop on choir touring with Tim, veteran of 25 years of touring with choirs at home and abroad, Male Voice Choirs, Mixed choirs, scratch choirs and Cathedral choirs - just get in touch!



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