TOURS AND FESTIVALS
The Washington Chorus has toured in a variety of locations and brought the joy of choral music to many countries. The following summarizes some of the memorable concerts and festivals.
2011 NEW YORK CITY
The Washington Chorus proudly represented the nation’s capital as part of Trinity Wall Street's observance of the tenth anniversary of September 11. On September 9, 2011, as part of Trinity Wall Street’s week-long Remember to Love commemoration events, choruses from New York City, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Boston—areas forever strongly linked by the tragedies of 9/11—performances at Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel and came together for a communal concert that evening. TWC presented two concerts of its own during the day before joining the massed choir. St. Paul’s Chapel opened for worship on October 30, 1766, as a chapel of Trinity Church. Because of its proximity to Ground Zero, St. Paul’s became the site of an extraordinary, round-the-clock relief ministry to the more than 14,000 volunteers offering assistance in the recovery effort.
The Washington Chorus returned to France with Bach's intricate Christ Lag in Todesbanden and Haydn's lovely Theresienmesse for its 2004 concert tour. Beginning on the Mediterranean in Nice, the Chorus performed at festivals in the charming fishing village of La Ciotat, historic Lyon, famous Chartres, and, of course, the city of lights - Paris. At each venue, French audiences greeted TWC with welcoming enthusiasm, including standing ovations and requests for autographs. The highlight of the trip, however, was the performance in the grand spaces of Chartres Cathedral. Prior to the concert, the singers were treated to a guided tour of the cathedral by the one and only Malcolm Miller, an expert on Chartres. The only fitting way then to finish the day was to perform Bach and Haydn in this crowning Gothic cathedral, surrounded by the history of the ages.
2002 FRANCE, GERMANY, AUSTRIA
At the prestigious invitation of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, the Chorus made Austria the focal point of its 2002 tour. Presenting Handel's intricate Chandos Anthem: Let God Arise and Mozart's ravishing Alma Dei Creatoris and triumphal Coronation Mass, the Chorus began its tour in Germany by performing at St. Blasius in Ehingen as well as in Ottobeuren's magnificent Abbey, which rises commandingly up out of the German hillside. Following a successful concert in Linz, Austria, the Chorus made its final stop in Vienna, performing to a completely sold-out crowd in St. Stephen's - the cathedral where Mozart was married and where both Mozart's and Beethoven's funerals were held. On a side trip to Vienna, the Chorus also had the unique opportunity to sing Bruckner's Locus Iste around his tomb in St. Florian's - a hauntingly beautiful performance witnessed by hundreds of skulls keeping watch over his coffin.
In 2000, following its unprecedented GRAMMY® win, the Chorus took a completely a cappella program to Italy, which was celebrating its Jubilee year. Maestro Shafer chose works by Clemens non Papa, Palestrina, Byrd, Duruflé, Ord, Tavenner, Howells, Victoria, Bruckner, and Washington's own Russell Woollen and Leo Nestor, as well as a selection of American spirituals. For the first time, a pre-tour concert was given in McLean, Virginia which was enthusiastically received by the Washington area, and sold out almost immediately. On tour, not only did the Chorus perform these choral gems in such venues as Chiesa di San Salvadore and the Basilica di San Marco in Venice, Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Florence, Chiesa Santa Caterina in Pisa, and Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio in Rome, but also had the opportunity to present impromptu selections in such historic places as the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, Assisi (the home of St. Francis), the Duomo in Florence, and the Pantheon in Rome.
1998 CZECH REPUBLIC, HUNGARY, AUSTRIA
In 1998, the Chorus, having officially changed its name from the Oratorio Society of Washington to The Washington Chorus, traveled to Eastern Europe and visited the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria. Performing Mozart's immortal Requiem and exquisite Ave Verum Corpus, the Chorus sang in such prestigious venues as the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew in the Czech Republic, the Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague, Eger Cathedral, and St. Matthias Church in Budapest.
1996 FRANCE AND ENGLAND
In 1996, the Chorus traveled to France and England, presenting Gabriel Fauré's beautiful Requiem. The first stop on this trip was Fauré's own church in Paris - La Madeleine, which made this opening concert an incredibly memorable and touching event - especially when the great doors of the church were opened at the conclusion of the concert and the encore could be heard down to the Place de la Concorde. Other stops on this trip included performances in England's Cirencester Cathedral, Bath Abbey, and the Sheldonian in Oxford.
1994 SPAIN AND THE MEDITERRANEAN
In 1994, The Washington Chorus (then the Oratorio Society of Washington) made a decision to become Ambassadors to the World by beginning a biennial schedule of international touring during the summer months. The tours would take a subset of the main chorus to locations across the world, bringing the finest in choral music to international audiences. The first of these tours was a trip to Spain and the Mediterranean, which was partially underwritten by the Spanish government. The Chorus took a program of American favorites and was greeted by enthusiastic audiences in such prestigious venues as the Concert Hall in Mallorca and San Martin de Valdeiglesias, which was literally packed to the rafters - so much so that the doors had to be opened and hundreds of people had to stand in the town square to hear the performance!