27th Oct, 2016

St Alphege Church choir sang their hearts out at Notre Dame

Shaun Reynolds 20th Aug, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

BUDDING choristers from St Alphege Church hit all the right notes when they performed at the iconic Notre Dame for its weekly Sunday mass.

The group performed to more than 2,000 people during the service in the heart of Paris while also showcasing the borough’s talent at other venues including La Madeleine and various town squares.

Months of weekly practise paid off for the choir, which has members ranging from eight to 80, as they made the trip across the channel to perform at several different venues while experiencing a range of different cultures.

Following the recent attacks on France, director of music at St Alphege Choir – Joe Cooper – said it was a privilege to take part in the tour and sing at services which sought to unite the nation.

He added: “At the international mass at Notre Dame, leaders of the French Muslim community spoke to condemn recent events and it was a large responsibility for us to take part in services which had the eyes and thoughts of the world upon them.”

Choir and music administrator Isabel Baumber said the week was a success on a musical, social and cultural perspective – and hinted that plans are already in the making for a European tour in the future.

She added: “We went on a trip to Paris just over a decade ago, though on that occasion it was a smaller scale tour with fewer people.

“We wanted to do something different this year so to run a cathedral tour during the summer holiday period when our young singers were around made sense.

“We’re always looking to push the boundaries and take on new challenges in new places while gaining more experience.”

The choir still welcomes new members and is hoping last month’s tour will inspire more borough youngsters to take up singing.

Isabel said the packed trip included two days of travelling while the group also took in sights including the Eiffel Tower, a champagne house and Disneyland.

She added: “There was plenty going on and we really packed our schedule to make the most of the week.

“Outdoor concerts are extremely popular in France so we performed at an informal concert in a square one night, the highlight though was performing at the main international mass on Sunday morning in the Notre Dame.

“It was an incredible moment and an experience I will never forget for as long as I live.

“We also performed at La Madeleine where many notable organists in French music have previously performed – it was quite surreal playing in all these venues that have previously hosted icons of the music we perform.”

For further information about St Alphege Choir, visit www.stalphegemusic.org.uk or contact Joe Cooper on 07935 962677.