The Cathedral Choir have just returned from a five day tour to The Netherlands. The first of three services was in Haarlem on Saturday Evening at St Bavo’s Cathedral. The vast size of this building was very different to the scale of most of the churches in Ireland but the choir of thirty-eight singers with Peter Stobart conducting and Matthew Breen at the organ were more than capable of filling the space.
They sang in the Basilica of St Nicholas in Amsterdam on Sunday morning to a full church of appreciative worshippers. It was remarked by the Dean of the Basilica that the parts of the service which had to be sung in Dutch sounded as if the choir were fluent! The music was Kodály’s ‘Missa brevis’ and ‘Surgens Jesus’ by Peter Philips, the text of which reflected the Gospel passage for the day, that of Jesus saying ‘peace be with you’ to the disciples.
From there the choir travelled by coach to the ancient university city of Leiden where they sang Evensong in the central church, the Hooglandse Kerk. They hold a monthly service in English and consequently, the people in the congregation had travelled some distance to hear it. Over two hundred people joined in with the singing of ‘Thine be the glory’ at the end of the service, which also included the ‘Canticles in A’ and ‘Ye choirs of new Jerusalem’, both by C. V. Stanford.
The thirty-one younger choristers and their supervisors visited Anne Frank’s House and the Rijksmuseum as well as the Royal Zoo and the historic area Zaanse Schans, which is full of windmills and craft centres making clogs and cheese. There were some very tired children on the return journey to Cork airport, but there were plenty of experiences and happy memories formed along the way.