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BPC Chamber Choir tours England

BPC Chamber Choir group picture in front of Big Ben
A group picture of the BPC Chamber Choir members in front of the Parliament building and world-famous Big Ben clock in London. (Photo by Dr. Mark Bowdidge)

 

By Kelley M. Arnold

Director of News and Public Information

MOUNT VERNON—The Brewton-Parker College Chamber Choir is still buzzing from a nine-day performance tour in England earlier this summer. The 26-member choir performed five concerts in historic cathedrals and manors across the English countryside during their tour May 14-23.

             

Dr. Mark Bowdidge, BPC chamber choir director, thanks those who supported the choir’s efforts to tour and perform in England.

             

BPC Chamber Choir performs in Coventry, England
BPC Chamber Choir performs in Coventry, England. (Photo by Thomas Peeler)

“Because of your generous contribution to the England Tour fund, we wanted to share our experiences with you as a way of showing you what your selfless act of giving provided for many of these students. Thank you also for remembering us in your prayers. Many great musical moments were experienced because many back home were praying for us,” said Dr. Bowdidge.

             

Senior Brejoya Perry, a church music major, describes the experience as one of a lifetime.

             

“One of the most exciting things as a musician was being able to sing in cathedrals of composers, performers and important figures we only study about through textbooks,” said Perry. “To be able to stand, sing and especially conduct in the places where those important people roamed was absolutely overwhelming.”

             

Each of the performance venues had their own stories to tell inside the hallowed walls. One cathedral’s nave in Ely was over 900 years old, “though Christian worship had been observed daily on the site since the 600s,” said Dr. Bowdidge.

“It was amazing to be in a place where millions of Christians have worshipped the risen Lord for over 1,000 years,” he exclaimed. “Our performance early that afternoon was in the 14th century Lady Chapel, a wonderful acoustic environment. Many famous choral ensembles perform and record in this room, John Rutter’s Cambridge Singers for example. Our performance was the best attended and well-received of any performance. The audience offered warm, extended applause at the conclusion. We had clearly moved them. The chaplain assigned to host us was most gracious, saying to the audience, ‘I cannot believe how lucky I was to have been assigned as chaplain for this day’.”

BPC Chamber Choir performs in Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral
BPC Chamber Choir performs in the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral under the direction of Senior Brandon Pafford. (Photo by Thomas Peeler)

Sophomore Robert Hilton was also moved by the performance and the history of the tour’s locales.

 “I think that it was probably the best experience I’ve ever had. It was amazing to visit places that were so old that they were around before people even knew the earth was round instead of flat,” said the music major. “We think that places here in the U.S. are old when they hit 100 years, but in comparison, that’s a recently-built building compared to the English definition of ‘old’.”

In Lincoln, the choir performed in Lincoln Cathedral’s Chapter House, an octagonal structure where the chapter, or administrative body of the cathedral, holds its meetings. What made this performance so unique was the location combined with a song selection, shared Dr. Bowdidge.

             

Brejoya Perry conducts in Coventry, England
Brejoya Perry, a senior church music major, conducts the BPC Chamber Choir in Coventry. (Photo by BPC student Thomas Peeler)

“One of the pieces in our repertoire was a motet by William Byrd, a 16th century English composer. Mr. Byrd was the organist/choir master at Lincoln Cathedral for many years,” said Dr. Bowdidge. “It was exciting to be singing an historic piece of music in the place for which it was most likely written.”

Another memorable experience for the choir was attending a performance by the world famous Choir of King’s College in Cambridge.

             

The choir was centered and housed in Harlaxton College, whose main building is the impressive 19th century Harlaxton Manor, located three hours from London. The last two days the choir spent time touring and sightseeing in London, a first time visit for many in the group. On their must-see lists were Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and St. Paul’s Cathedral where they attended Choral Evensong sung by the cathedral’s world famous men’s and boy’s choir. Several choir members also attended a Broadway-style show in London’s West End, the city’s theatre district centered on Leicester Square.

             

“Even though I had been to England before, I had never experienced the English countryside and the small towns to which we traveled. Visiting so many cathedrals and having the opportunity to sing in them helped me connect with the music that we had rehearsed for so long,” said Cindy Rollins, sophomore church music major. “It’s an experience that should not be passed up if at all possible, and I thank everyone who contributed to helping me go.”

In concert in York, England
BPC Chamber Choir in concert in York, England. (Photo by BPC student Cindy Rollins)
Chamber Choir enters venue at Harlaxton College
BPC Chamber Choir enters performance venue at Harlaxton College (Photo by Thomas Peeler)
group in front of Harlaxton College
Members of Brewton-Parker College’s Chamber Choir pause for a photo opportunity in front of Harlaxton College, where they were housed while on part of their Summer Tour 2007. (Photo by Dr. Mark Bowdidge)

-BPC-

 

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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
 
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
 
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM