Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Chapel Choir Tour to Ireland and Scotland

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The Duke Chapel Choir is on tour in Ireland and Scotland from May 19 to 29, singing in services and concerts in Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews. See their itinerary below and check back here for updates from the tour. View repertoire and texts

Capturing the Tour in Sights and Sounds

Watch the sights from the Chapel Choir's tour of Ireland and Scotland in the compilation video below. The tour included singing in services and concerts at seven majestic churches as well as visits to historic and cultural sites in Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews. The music in the video is “Brother James’ Air" by James L. Macbeth Bain (1860–1925), arranged by Mack Wilberg, performed by the Duke Chapel Choir at St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, on May 26. Audio and video production by Pablo Vega with The Workshop. Also, watch a playlist of the videos from the tour.

Tour Finale in St. Andrews

From Anna Cambron, a Graduate School student, on May 28

Today we visited St. Andrews, a lovely little seaside town and golfing paradise. We sang a morning service at St. Mark’s Church and got to meet some of the congregation over tea afterwards. We had a bit of time for sightseeing before our afternoon concert, so I grabbed a quick lunch and spent some time exploring the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, once the largest church in Scotland. The ruins and the rest of the town were so peaceful (except for the seagull that tried to fight me for my sandwich!). Then, we sang a concert at Holy Trinity, a beautiful finale to a beautiful tour! I’m not looking forward to flying home tomorrow....

A Striking Perspective on Edinburgh

From Anna Cambron, a Graduate School student, on May 27

Today we went sightseeing in Edinburgh. First we toured Edinburgh Castle, and then we hiked up a hill called Arthur’s Seat and got some amazing 360-views of the city. The climb was sometimes difficult and it was very windy at the top, but reaching the top brought a great sense of accomplishment. After we came back down, I spent the rest of the day peacefully in the National Gallery of Scotland and its nearby gardens.

Highlights from Scotland

May 26

The Chapel Choir visited Stirling Castle, Bannochburn, and the Trossachs, and gave an evening concert at Glasgow Cathedral on May 25. The next day, the choir arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, and gave a lunchtime concert at St. Giles' Cathedral, the “high kirk” of Scotland. The performance audio and footage is from the choir singing "the spiritual "Every Time I Feel the Spirit," arranged by William Dawson, at Glasgow Cathedral. Audio and video production is by Pablo Vega with The Workshop.

Concert at St. Giles' Cathedral

May 26

One of the pieces the choir performed at their midday concert at St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh was "Jubilate Deo" by Benjamin Britten. Watch it here:

Arriving in Edinburgh for a Midday Concert

From Anna Cambron, a Graduate School student, on May 26

Today, we said goodbye to Glasgow and drove to Edinburgh, our next stop on the tour. We took a lovely bus tour of the city’s main sights, with Edinburgh Castle, the site of tomorrow’s visit, looming above us. Every street we drove down was full of beautiful Georgian and Neoclassical architecture. We sang a lunchtime concert surrounded by Scottish history in St. Giles' Cathedral, and had a bit of time to explore before and after a group dinner. I ended up doing a bit of vintage shopping and taking a sunset walk around part of the edge of the city.

A Day of Historic Sites Culminates in a Concert at a Cathedral

From Beth Johnson, a Divinity School student, on May 25

Today, we began by visiting the battle sight and museum of the Battle of Bannockburn. The museum was incredibly insightful and taught us a lot about Scotland! Next, we drove through the beautiful mountains and hills up to the Stirling Castle where we saw the Queen’s Room (throne room), the King’s Room, and many other personal spaces of the royalty. Then we jumped in the bus and headed to meet some highland cows (or as they call them in Scotland “coos”)! They were very soft and fluffy! We finished our day with a performance at Glasgow Cathedral and received a standing ovation!

Appreciating a Cathedral's Community Across Time and Class

From Anna Cambron, a Graduate School student, on May 24

This morning, we visited Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow’s only surviving medieval structure, where we will be performing a concert this Thursday night. The stained-glass windows have been replaced over the years with new art and new dedications to donors or military units. I was particularly struck by a window listing several trade organizations that donated, including wrights, gardeners, coopers, weavers, and many other jobs. It reminded me that people of all types, not just Glasgow’s most wealthy and important citizens, had a role in creating the cathedral and the community as we see it today. In the afternoon, several of us went out for a delicious high tea at the Willow Tea Rooms, decorated in the Art Nouveau style of Glaswegian architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Two very different architectural experiences, but both joyful and inspiring!

Joining Voices with the Glasgow University Chapel Choir

Last night (May 23), the Duke Chapel Choir joined the Glasgow University Chapel Choir in presenting a concert at Glasgow University Memorial Chapel. In this video the combined choir, conducted by Zebulon Highben, sings "We Shall Walk Through the Valley," arranged by Undine Smith Moore:

In this video the combined choir, conducted by Katy Lavinia Cooper, sings “Psallite Domino” by William Byrd:

Highlights from Ireland

Watch below highlights from the Chapel Choir's time in and around Dublin (May 21–22), which included singing in a Sunday morning Mass at Whitefriar Street Church, giving a concert at Christ Church Cathedral, and visiting the ancient Glendalough monastery. The music in the video is "The Spirit of the Lord" by choir director Zebulon Highben, performed jointly with the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir on May 23 at Glasgow University Memorial Chapel.

A Visit to a Monastery Presents an Opportunity to Sing

From Kene Anumba, a Graduate School student, on May 22

We had a day off from performing today and headed to Glendalough, known as the valley of the two lakes. It boasts many iconic scenes, including the Glendalough monastery, which was founded in the late sixth to early seventh century by St. Kevin. Today, it attracts many tourists such as our choir. Upon arrival, the choir was taken to see a fifteen-minute video explaining everything about the monastery, including its history and evolution over time. Afterwards, the choir was taken to see other parts of the monastery, including: the round tower, monastery cathedral, Celtic Cross, St. Kevin’s Kitchen—inside which the choir sang “The Spirit of the Lord”.

The Chapel Choir sings “The Spirit of the Lord” by choir director Zebulon Highben.

First Performances

From Beth Johnson, a Divinity School student, on May 21

Today was a full day! The Chapel Choir began by singing at mass at Whitefriar Street Church, which was beautiful and very moving for many of the members of their congregation. Then the choir was whisked away to go to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells (an extremely old and beautiful Bible). Inside was also the Long Library where they preserve old books. The rest of the afternoon we were given free time. I joined a group of choir friends and headed to Dublin Castle. We ended the night with a successful concert at Christ Church!

Arriving in Ireland

From Anna Cambron, a Graduate School student, on May 20

The Chapel Choir arrived in Dublin today! We’re all excited to get the tour started. I personally can’t wait to sing in some of the most beautiful historic places in the world! Once we landed, our tour guides took us on a lovely bus tour of Dublin’s major architectural sights. My personal favorite was Dublin’s convention center, nicknamed “the tube in the cube.” After a bit of sightseeing, we capped off the night with a welcome dinner at our hotel; most of us went to bed early to sleep off the jet lag to be ready for performing tomorrow.

Final Rehearsal in the U.S.

The choir had their final rehearsal in Duke Chapel on Wednesday, May 15. It included this clip of "Every Time I Feel the Spirit" by William Dawson.

Tour Itinerary

Sunday, May 21, 10:30 a.m.
Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin

Sunday, May 21, 8:00 p.m.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

Tuesday, May 23, 6:30 p.m.
Glasgow University Memorial Chapel
with the Glasgow University Chapel Choir

Thursday, May 25, 7:00 p.m.
Glasgow Cathedral

Friday, May 26, 1:30 p.m.
St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh

Sunday, May 28, 11:00 a.m.
St. Mark’s Church, St. Andrews

Sunday, May 28, 3:00 p.m.
Holy Trinity Church, St. Andrews