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Church choirs, Traditional music

We will be visiting London, Bath, Cotswolds, and York in late June early July and would like to experience church choirs and traditional music. I am looking for suggestions for where to go, what not to miss. Thanks

Posted by
211 posts

You need to check the individual church websites to see what's on the schedule. For instance, Westminster Cathedral has evensong as does York Minster. Sometimes choirs or organists can be practicing when you visit too.

Posted by
2391 posts

Omg, our best experience was thanks to Rick's UK video. It was about the town of Wells not too far from Bath, maybe half hour. We went to Stonehenge in AM and then into Wells and toured town, Vicars Close and cathedral. We passed by cathedral again that evening and saw a lot of cars pulling up and parking. We thought it was an evening service so we asked people walking up to church and were told it was an evening boys choir practice and they invited us to come in with them as their guests which of course we did. We got to sit right up front in what I guess were some kind of choir stall chairs, can't explain but it was one of the very best experiences. I think their boys choir is world known so even if you can't do what we did, try to find out if they have a concert or sing at a church service.

Posted by
6629 posts

Evensong in Westminster Abbey (not cathedral, that's a different place) and/or York Minster. You sit in the choir stalls. It's a short religious service but mostly music.

Posted by
3392 posts

In most major European cities there will be posters and handbills that announce concerts in all kinds of venues. All the places you mention will have these. You may have to do a little more hunting in the Cotswolds but you will find something I'm sure. In London, the Church of St. Martin in the Fields is known for their concerts. It's right on Trafalgar Square...as you face the National Gallery. It's the beautiful church with the tall steeple just to your right.

Posted by
211 posts

Dick, my mistake re Westminster Abbey. But Westminster Cathedral does have organ recitals. :)

Posted by
8815 posts

Grab a copy of Timeout Magazine when you arrive at Heathrow. Excellent at listing all that is happening in London. When, where and what tube stop is nearby. http://www.timeout.com/london One of my favorite London chorale groups, http://www.london-concert-choir.org.uk, are worth seeing. I would also check what might be happening at St. Martin's of the Fields during your stay. http://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/event/choral-evensong/. Evensong at St. Bride's Fleet Street is fabulous so worth investigating if it's reopened. It was going under renovation on my visit last Fall and not open to the public. Lastly, this might be of interest to you. http://www.templechurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Organ-Recitals.pdf

Posted by
16894 posts

I would use the resources mentioned already, in addition to the Tourist Information Office in each town. Evensong and other church services and low-key concerts always seem to be around.

Posted by
143 posts

In addition to York Minster and St-Martin-in-the Fields, Evensong at St George's Chapel @ Windsor Castle has such historical significance ( look at the names of many of the most famous people in British history on the backs of the chairs in the choir stalls). Sunday Service at St Paul's or Westminster Abbey is also an option. Small parish churches may have only an organist who can be mediocre or accomplished, but the reverberations in a stone church are something I enjoy.

We are looking forward to Evensong at Wells and a service in Welsh at St David's Cathedral (Wales) in June.

Posted by
14165 posts

In addition to the suggestions regarding websites, when you are there look at the bulletin boards outside the churches. Last Sept I was just glancing at the board outside Bath Abbey to see what kind of things were posted and realized there was an organ recital that evening. It was wonderful! Same thing again at St Mary's Church in Betws-y-Coed with a male voice choir from a neighboring town. IIRC both venues asked for a 5£ donation.