April round-up: travel and premieres

John’s feet hardly touched the ground in April. It started with a weekend visit to Norway to lead two Singing Days for Korforbund, the Norwegian Choir Association, in Bergen and Stavanger. ‘Come & Sing’ days (where you meet to sing through repertoire just for pleasure without the pressure of preparing for a public concert) are not yet well known in Norway, so John was pleased to introduce this concept, following on from last year’s enthusiastically received ‘Days’ in Oslo and Trondheim.


Home for a week to finish writing London Songs, a new song cycle for children’s choirs, and then followed a shorter trip to lovely Binham Priory in Norfolk to produce the National Youth Choir of Great Britain’s recording of Parry’s Songs of Farewell. The ruined Priory is an English Heritage site, but the magnificent priory church survives and serves as the much-loved parish church for this tiny village, which is also known for also known for Mrs. Temple’s excellent Binham Blue cheese.


Minneapolis was the next stop, to conduct the world première of When music sounds, especially written for the 50th Anniversary of old friend Philip Brunelle’s choir VocalEssence — John also managed to slip in another ‘Come & Sing’ for 500 voices before returning home.


April ended as it began, with travel; this time, the world premiere of Visions in its new version for flute, string orchestra and upper-voice choir in Mexico City, but not before a trip to open ‘Rutter House’ at St Michael’s CE High School in Crosby and lead an Association of British Choral Directors Singing Day in Lancashire.