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St John’s Voices undertake first major tour

St John’s Voices – the College’s mixed voice choir – have recently returned from their first major tour, which took them to Hong Kong and Singapore. This report was contributed by Henry Phillips, a 3rd-year Veterinary Sciences student.

The choir, which is directed by Graham Walker, showcased a wide range of repertoire, singing at a number of private functions and events, and culminating with performances of Handel’s Messiah in both countries.

Alongside selling out at the beautiful Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore, other highlights from the tour included the opportunity to sing in Macau Cathedral, as well as concerts in Hong Kong City Hall and the Foreign Correspondents Club, and collaborative performances with the All-Saints’ Cathedral choir and the choir of the ISF Academy. The choir were also given a guided tour of Macau by Cambridge alumnus Peter Stucky.

Among the favourites from the choir’s concert programmes were three arrangements of festive melodies by recent graduate Alex Woolf, who was able to make time in his busy schedule to re-join the choir for the tour. ‘Mingle Bells’, an imaginative medley of Christmas tunes, was a hit with choir members and audiences alike, with Alex’s arrangements drawing extremely favourable reviews from the local press.

The choir was lucky enough to be joined by Johnian violinist Julia Hwang for a concert in Hong Kong City Hall. Julia performed Gershwin and Brahms, accompanied by Anthony Gray, before joining the choir for Child, by Tim Watts, which was the first piece the Master and Fellows commissioned for the choir.

St John’s Voices were joined on the tour by the college Chaplain, Carol Barrett Ford, who said: “It was a real pleasure to be able to accompany the St John’s Voices on their first major tour. Their hard work and dedication was evident in high quality performances, which thrilled the audiences who attended the concerts. They also proved to be wonderful travelling companions and a credit to the College.”

The Choir would wish to thank Graham Walker for his tireless efforts and endless enthusiasm, the Chaplain, Richard Latham, Organists Anthony Gray and Polina Sosnina, Caroline Marks and Christine Nigam. Final thanks go to the Master and Fellows for their continued support and encouragement of the choir as it develops and embarks upon more ambitious and exciting projects.

This term the Voices will enter the recording studio for the first time and continue to expand their repertoire, performing joint services with the Girton and Magdelene college choirs, as well as beginning preparations for their next tour to Colombia next year.

More information about St John's Voices may be found here.