What time is it in the U.K.?
I typed this in my browser repeatedly last night to make sure I knew what time it was in England.
You see, I was counting down the minutes it would be exactly April 4th at 10:00 am in England—that was when tickets would be available for this year’s Three Choirs Festival which is scheduled to take place in Hereford, U.K.
That meant it would be 11:00 pm in Hawaii and at 10:55 pm I logged on to their website and waited. At precisely 11:00 pm the magic box appeared: Book Now and I pounced!
The Three Choirs Festival is a weeklong music festival which brings together the cathedral choirs of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester—and is billed as “The World’s Finest Choral Music.” The three choirs have met together every year (except during world wars) for over 300 years, and celebrated the 300th anniversary of the first festival in 2015. Over the course of the week, the three choirs perform major works with orchestra in addition to smaller concerts—in all, about 80 concerts, lectures, recitals, services and outings during the week.
In 2016 I attended my first Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester and was immediately impressed with the new as well as traditional repertoire in addition to the extremely high standards of music making. “…died and went to heaven,” you might call it!
Last summer I was in Worcester and met up with Joe Hansen (the Lutheran Church of Honolulu’s Music director in the early 1970s.) This summer I will be joined by former Honolulu resident Joan Ishibashi for three days of the festival. Joan was so taken with my blog posts about the Three Choirs Festival from last summer that she was interested in hearing some of the concerts for herself, now that she lives in London.
Listen to this description of a concert I booked called “Tenebrae,” which includes the Choral music of John Tavener, Hubert Parry, Edward Elgar, and Herbert Howells:
This programme marks a gentle reflection on the final year of the World War I centenary, telling a story of loss and an earnest wish for peace. Including many composers with strong connections to the Three Choirs Festival, and the premiere of a psalm originally intended for Torsten Rasch’s 2014 piece A Foreign Field, commissioned to mark the start of the centenary, this is sure to be a moving commemoration from one of the UK’s most exhilaratingly refined vocal ensembles.
Among the 17 events I booked, I signed up for a drumming workshop (what fun! “Use recycled bottles, buttons, bearings, buckets, broom handles and barrels to play some musical games and compose your own percussion piece. To add some upcycled melody, you can make your own lollypop kazoo to take home afterwards and carry on the fun!”)
I also signed up for a walking tour of Hereford, and a concert of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Joan and I will take in a performance of the Monteverdi Vespers, Elgar King Olaf, Bruckner Te Deum, Mendelssohn Lobgesang and an organ concert by superstar Olivier Latry, titular organist of Notre Dame, Paris.
In the meantime, I’m scrambling to get out of town next week Tuesday when I go to visit Joey Fala and Linden Doescher in North Carolina and the tulips in Amsterdam!