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12th September 2015
This year's choir medallists

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13th April 2015
Former chorister returns for concert with her brilliant new choir! Sat 23rd May 2015

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31st October 2014
An English Autumn Concert : 21st November 2014

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3rd September 2014
A New Year and a New Music Department

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5th May 2014
David Arcus begins as Interim Director of Music!

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11th April 2014
New Music Staff

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31st March 2014
Clare Competition Winner

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17th February 2014
Mozart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

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16th February 2014
Choral Evensong in Cambridge

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7th February 2014
Rage and Romance : Part 1 Done!

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2nd February 2014
Be a Chorister at Candlemas!

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1st February 2014
Our New Archdeacon Arrives

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31st January 2014
ASS needs you!!!

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25th January 2014
The Men in Southwell

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5th January 2014
A New Year’s Tour in Vienna

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26th December 2013
Christmas has just Begun!

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19th December 2013
Mandela Memorial Service

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5th December 2013
Our New Boy Bishop

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22nd November 2013
The Dove is Launched!

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22nd November 2013
Composition Competition

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Voyage à Paris, by a Senior Chorister.
15th June 2011
 

  

Over the bank holiday weekend at the end of May, over 70 singers and supporters from the choirs of All Saints took to Paris, to perform at some of the great Parisian churches as part of this summer’s festival, Voyage à Paris.

The musicians, aged from 8 to 78 – 18 boys, 18 girls and 25 men, plus two organists – left Northampton early on Friday afternoon, but we were soon caught in desperately heavy first-Friday-of-half-term traffic! Unfortunately this meant we missed our Eurotunnel crossing, but

spirits were kept high with a combination of fast food, Frisbees, football and films, and eventually the two coaches were fitted onto a later crossing at around midnight.

Despite the late hour, spirits seemed unfeasibly high as the coaches finally arrived at the hotel at around 4am, but breakfast that morning was certainly quiet! After a gentle morning and a first taste of French food, we set off for central Paris for our first musical engagement of the tour – the rehearsal at Notre Dame. The staggering gothic church left many of the younger choristers open-mouthed as they walked across the bridge towards the central island, and the vast queues of tourists waiting to get in reinforced the incredible nature of the place, but it was with some relief that we found we were to be taken straight in! We got straight to work, topping and tailing our music whilst the tourists mulled around taking photographs, before we took a well-earned break and an ice-cream in the sun by the side of the Seine. We returned that evening for the 6pm Eucharist, where we performed the Keble Mass by Philip Stopford (in the presence of the composer), our 2009 commission, Ave Maria from James MacMillan, and a new setting of the Ave Verum by our DofM. Everything went without a hitch, and at the end of the service the priest unexpectedly gestured for us to process out through the nave and the congregation where we received a standing ovation from all present. This was a very good start to our tour!
 


 

Following a hastily eaten packed supper on the coach, we then arrived at our second venue, the colonnaded Saint-Sulpice. Because of our late arrival time, the church was closed and in darkness, and it was a magical experience as we rehearsed alone in this great building, the sound of the magnificent organ bouncing off the dimly glittering walls. Daniel Roth, the legendary Organist Titulaire, took us through our paces as we worked hard to synchronise the various forces within the great work.

Sunday morning began early, and it was with a sense of occasion that we arrived at Saint-Sulpice once again. Here we were to give the world premiere performance (again in the presence of the composer) of our 2010 commission from David Briggs, Messe pour Saint-Sulpice. Jointly commissioned by ourselves and the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Calgary, this mass was written with our own forces in mind: scored for two organs, SATB choir and a second treble line. As the liturgy of the mass came to a close, the first chords thundered out from the

grand orgue high up in the gallery, and we threw ourselves into the new mass, a stunning piece that was so cleverly written with the venue and acoustic in mind. It was clear from the stunned silence as we finished that the congregation were blown away by the setting, and again we received a standing ovation as we processed out.

Sunday afternoon was very much a case of from the sublime to the ridiculous, as we replaced the magnificent splendour of Saint-Sulpice with the frenetic excitement of Disneyland. The moment we entered the park, awash with pink, plastic and people, the choristers rushed off in their groups, desperate to test their nerves and their stomachs to the limits, and it appears even lay clerks are not too old for a hefty dose of ‘Thunder Mountain’!

Monday morning was dedicated to sight-seeing, and each group disappeared off on their own into central Paris to see, and, it seems, to shop! We reconvened again at noon, and as a party of 71 (a few landlubbers among us!), we ascended the Eiffel Tower. Although some were a little hesitant at first, the spectacular panoramic views across Paris soon drew everyone in, and it was with great excitement that the younger choristers identified both Notre Dame and Saint-Sulpice from amongst the stunning skyline. So big from the ground, the churches looked like models from 115m up! Everybody returned breathless with excitement – and exertion from those who tackled the stairs! – and we had a hasty buffet lunch before returning to the coaches. The journey home was uneventful, and we managed to keep to schedule despite heavy bank holiday traffic in France (again!). We arrived back at Northampton at midnight, shattered and sleepy, but bursting with excitement, stories and souvenirs. Nobody will forget our amazing Voyage à Paris in a hurry!



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