Bath Abbey Girls' Choir mark anniversary with European tour

10th August 2022

From 16 to 18 July, Bath Abbey Girls’ Choir travelled through The Netherlands and Belgium, singing at some of the most spectacular churches and cathedrals in Europe. The trip was a time of joy and connection for the girls, who this year marked the 25 year anniversary of the founding of the choir, as well as an opportunity to offer their beautiful singing in service to God and the congregations who attended the services.

Bath Abbey Girls’ choir was founded in 1997 by Dr Peter King, the Director of Music at the Abbey from 1986 to 2016. Huw Williams is the current Director of Music who leads the choir today.

The girls range in age from 11 to 18. They celebrated their 25 year anniversary on 9 July with a concert at Bath Abbey performing music by female church composers, including a new commission by composer Roxanna Panufnik, using text from St Clare of Assisi.

Cath Candish, a curate at Bath Abbey, who was chaperoning the European tour, recalls some of her impressions of the trip.

“These were the record- breaking heatwave days, when Europe melted in the sun, but these 24 intrepid girls none the less donned their cassocks with courage, again and again, and sang for hours, filling and refilling water bottles, taking care of one another like the incredible team that they are. Over three long, hot and demanding days, we chaperones watched the team of girls grow closer, as older and younger girls shared stories. We listened to gales of laughter, and laughed ourselves – it was an incredibly joyous, hilarious trip. We saw confidence levels rise, and time and again, heard the choir sing with one voice, filling the vast space around them with jaw dropping beauty. 

“We flew from Bristol to Amsterdam, then travelled to Wijk bij Duurstede where the choir sang choral evensong in the Grote Kerk. From there, we travelled on to Utrecht for dinner and thence to Tilburg, where we spent the night. On Sunday the choir sang for Choral Eucharist at St Janskathedraal Den Bosch, and received a spontaneous round of applause, followed by some shopping, a tour of the Bosch museum and a river trip in the afternoon. On this river trip, in a long underground tunnel, the choir burst into spontaneous song.

“Our final day, Monday, was spent mostly in Antwerp, where the choir held a beautiful concert in the vast and stunning St Paulsuskerk – and received a standing ovation. Time for one last ice cream and then we were back on the coach, heading for Amsterdam and home.”

Cath encourages everyone to come and hear the Bath Abbey Girls’ Choir, who are “quite remarkable!”

This video shows the choir rehearsing during the tour.

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