The Choristers embarked on a festive tour to the Netherlands with the St John’s College Choir before Christmas. At the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam the Choir performed an afternoon concert of Christmas favourites in one of the world's finest concert halls. The St John’s Choir was accompanied by Herbert Howells Organ Scholar Glen Dempsey and two other Johnian musicians: cellist Laura van der Heijden and baritone Gareth John (a former choral scholar). The Choir also performed at TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht, Kathedraal St Bavo in Haarlem (along with the St Bavo Choir), Maria van Jesse Kerk in Delft and St Stevenskerk in Nijmegen.
The Choir's first stop was Amsterdam with a flurry of snow, ready for their inaugural concert at the Royal Concertgebouw on Museumplein square. The Royal Concertgebouw boasts unique acoustics and is the home base of the Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Mrs Jan Fletcher, a member of the Boarding House staff, commented, “The concert was a great success and the boys enjoyed performing in such a magnificent concert hall. We had a tram ride through Amsterdam with a stop off at a cafe for hot chocolate before heading off to perform live at the national TV studios.”
In between rehearsals, the Choristers visited a cheese factory and a clog factory and watched how these iconic national shoes used to be handmade. They also discovered how Gouda and Edam cheeses are produced and had the chance to sample a few too. The enjoyed football in the snow, a boat trip and a visit to the ‘Life in the Universe’ exhibition at the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam. One Chorister enthused, “The tour was the best thing that had happened to me the whole time I have been in the Choir. We got to sing at so many different concert halls and, as well as the singing, we saw parts of the Netherlands too.”
All Royal Concertgebouw photos courtesy of Ronald Knapp.