|Cathedral Music Trust|
Christ Church Cathedral Choir has just returned from a successful tour of Sweden! Following two postponements because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the tour was a much-anticipated return to international travel for the Choir. Along the way, we were very glad to be reunited with alumni of the House as well as friends and supporters of the Music Trust.
The tour included four concert engagements highlighting the Cathedral Choir's versatile breadth of repertoire and style. In addition to the concerts, the Choir was pleased to join in some special events for alumni and Music Trust friends in Stockholm as well as collaborate with our Swedish counterparts in Uppsala to sing in liturgical context. We were all thrilled to share the joy of music through the venerable choral tradition of the House.
The tour began with a few days in Stockholm—the cultural, political, and economic heart of Sweden. The choir had lovely accommodation aboard the M/S Mälardrottningen.
The first concert was an invited programme of English choral masterworks at Stockholms Domkyrka (Stockholm Cathedral), the city’s oldest church and the seat of Church of Sweden Diocese of Stockholm.
The next day, the choir accompanied a group of alumni and Music Trust friends on a wonderful dinner cruise around the archipelago aboard the M/S Waxholm III from its permanent berth at Nybrokajen Quay in central Stockholm. During dinner, the choir sang a light programme of close harmony arrangements.
In addition to their musical engagements, the choristers and clerks enjoyed exclusive guided tours of the Moderna Museet's collections alongside our Music Trust friends. Thanks to the generous hospitality of our local alumni, the museum's curatorial staff agreed to open specially for us on a day the galleries would normally be closed to the public.
Our alumni and friends were treated to a final event in Stockholm at the offices of Mannheimer Swartling, where James Vaux (1983, Law) gave an engaging talk about Weapons of Mass Production: How interior design became a Cold War tool and the surprising role of 'Swedish Modern' drawing on his wide-ranging research and experience in law, finance, and design.
Meanwhile, the Choir travelled to Uppsala, the ecclesiastical and academic centre of Sweden. Our choristers and clerks were very well looked after in homestays arranged by our choral counterparts at Uppsala domkyrka with families from their gosskör.
The Cathedral itself remains the spiritual and visual focal point of the city. Our Choir were pleased to sing a concert programme of choral masterworks (receiving a standing ovation warranting an encore) as well as the Ascension Day High Mass with the Domkyrkas gosskör in such an historic setting.
Our local alumni also took the time to introduce us to the 'Swedish Oxford', Uppsala universitet. The tour of some of the most iconic and historic academic buildings was punctuated by deafening degree day cannon fire for every newly minted doctor of the university. The choristers were delighted.
The final leg of the tour brought the Choir to Stiftsgården, on the eastern shore of Lake Siljan, near Rättvik. The Choir were the featured guest artists at the Rättvik Festival, a summer choir intensive for Church of Sweden boychoirs.
The Choir sang two programmes of diverse styles in the historic Rättvik Church: one featuring secular close harmony and madrigals and the other showcasing the rich English sacred choral tradition.
Christ Church Organist, Steven Grahl, also led several workshops on a variety of topics, including the training of church musicians, the structure and repertoire of a boychoir, and issues and opportunities for recruitment of choristers and clerks in a post-pandemic world. He remained on after the choir returned home for half term as the invited guest director of the festival's combined choirs.
The Christ Chuch Music Trust is grateful to the many people who made this tour possible. We extend especial thanks to our local alumni for their generous underwriting, hospitality, and steadfast support on the ground.
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