THE ABBEY SCHOOL TEWKESBURY   cd link

The Abbey School, Tewkesbury is one of Britain's more recent choir schools having only been founded in 1973. Since that day in 1973 it has educated and trained the choristers who sing the daily service in Tewkesbury Abbey. Tewkesbury Abbey is one of England's Norman masterpieces and in 2002 celebrated nine hundred years since the monks first arrived at the Abbey. Renowned for its wonderful acoustics, it is the Abbey that has been the principal performing venue for the choir. However, over the last thirteen years the choir has earned an international reputation through its tours all over the world. Moscow has been visited - where performances of Vivaldi's Gloria were given, as has the United States of America on two occasions. This is the choir's third American tour, and its most extensive to date. In 1996, the choir was invited to give performances of Handel's Messiah in the Flanders International Early Music Festival which takes place annually in Bruges. It was on the strength of a CD recording that they were invited to Sweden in 1997. In 2001 the choir gave performances in Paris with a French orchestra and sang at High Mass in Notre-Dame Cathedral on Easter Monday.

Recording has been an important part of the choir's work for some fifteen years. In 1989 a notable recording of the choral music of Thomas Weelkes was released to critical acclaim. An invitation to record christmas carols for 'Naxos' brought the choir to a wider audience the world over - the disc was top of the Swedish classical chants for a number of months. In 2001 the choir recorded the second volume of 'Favourite Hymns for all Seasons' for Guild Music and Volume 9 in the 'Complete New English Hymnal Series' for Priory Records. Also in 2001 the choir was invited to record a selection of Elgar's choral music for Japanese Television. In June of last year the choir recorded 'Pater Noster' for Priory Records.

2002 was a busy year for the choir. In March they hosted the choristers from Bristol, Gloucester, Hereford, Llandaff, Truro and Wells Cathedrals, Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford as one hundred and forty choristers competed in the 'Western Division of Choir Schools Football Tournament' and sang Evensong in the Abbey. The service included the first performance of Mark Blatchly's O Quam Dilecta, commissioned especially for the occasion. In May the choir joined with Worcester Cathedral Choir and Chameleon Arts Brass to give a concert celebrating the Abbey's 900th Anniversary and in June the choir broadcast Choral Evensong live on Radio 3 and gave a concert in the chapel at the Houses of Parliament.

 

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