Eight sopranos from the Garleton Singers were hugely privileged to be invited to join the Belfast Philharmonic Choir on their recent tour of Poland and Ukraine.
The Garleton’s Musical Director, Stephen Doughty is also the Chorus Master of the Belfast Phil, and he invited the “Garletons” to supplement Phil’s soprano section, and ensure the correct balance of choral parts across the touring choir.
Those of us who participated went over to Belfast on a number of occasions both to rehearse the repertoire for the tour, and to take part in two concerts which included the repertoire – Mozart’s C Minor Mass and Poulenc’s Stabat Mater.
The tour, which took place at the end of August 2017 started in the pretty Polish city of Opole, where the concert took place to a packed audience in the beautiful Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
The second concert took place in the Basilica of Christ the King in Katowice – the largest cathedral in Poland – in the presence of many local dignitaries. The acoustics were ……interesting! Again we sang to a full house.
The third and final concert was in the Philharmonic Hall in Lviv, Ukraine – a beautiful concert venue, where the sound was amazing. Nearly every seat was taken and there was a standing ovation at the end.
All three concerts also featured the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, and local soloists. There were two conductors involved in the tour – one Polish and one Ukrainian.
As well as having the chance to sing in some fantastic venues, the singers were able to undertake optional tours in Krakow, Wroclaw, Lviv, the Wieliczka Salt Mine and Auschwitz.
We were made extremely welcome by our good friends in the Belfast Phil, and we are most grateful to Stephen, our Musical Director both for suggesting the tour to us, and for giving up his time to rehearse us in Haddington. His own arrangements of “Danny Boy” and “Charlie is my Darling”, which we performed as encores, were a great hit with our Polish and Ukrainian audiences.
By Lin Macmillan