Are Singing Holidays Choral Holidays?Singing Holidays aren’t really choral holidays. Not that there’s anything wrong with the notion of a choral holidays week away, in fact I think it’s a great thing and I’m sure many of you have experienced the thrill of singing in a big group in a wonderful venue, and that fantastic sensation when a spot of Handel ricochets off the often multitudinous walls of a large church. But to consider Singing Holidays as Choral Holidays would be misinterpreting what we are trying to achieve during a 7-day stay in this wonderfully serene, off-the-beaten-track, rural area of Italy.We do sing in some spectacular venues on a Singing Holidays week and we often do sing choral music but our main focus revolves around singing, singing confidently, singing better and discovering tools that can be taken away and used beyond the holiday experience so continuing ones development and enjoyment.I think if I’m honest, when Temi and I first thought up the idea of Singing Holidays in Italy we didn’t delve too deeply into the whole benefit behind small groups, yoga, individual attention (we’re both suckers for detail), inspirational setting, clean air and ‘clean’, often organic grub.
We just started it all up because it was a merging of our skills and it combined the things in life that we truly loved. It also meant that we could tap into our own environment and introduce people to an area of Italy that was so incredibly inspiring and untouched that it’s intrinsic qualities would be a major part of a Singing Holidays experience.It was only through doing the Singing Holidays weeks that we discovered the fundamental benefits of having small groups and of always being in inspirational settings that were, as much as possible away from the madding crowd of tourism. I remember busking with Temi in Strasbourg 10 years or so ago, and after having done pretty well in the main square in front of the Cathedral, an old Jewish American woman came up to us and said in a voice that could slice through steel, “Do you like Strasbourg?” “Yes, very much…lovely people” I replied, staring into my hat of coins, “It’s a tourist trap!” she screamed!! She was very scary. She was very right as well!”Tourist traps” we avoid as much as possible, or we visit at a time when the tourists are far less in number. Real Italy and meeting real Italians who are warm and welcoming without being jaded by the masses is what we love. Eating food that the locals eat and drinking cappuccino in bars full of Italians is wonderful and surely what it’s all about!When we’re in a small group, just like we are on a Singing Holiday, we are able to get into places that would be inaccessible and impracticable for a larger group. Whether that is Compline with the Benedictine Monks in Norcia or an impromptu visit and sing in a spectacular cathedral such as Spoleto or even a visit to a remote hermitage. None of these special moments would be possible with a large coach load of people on their choral holidays.
For us choral holidays is about large groups and broad-brush strokes where as Singing Holidays is more about individual needs, small group singing, friendship, family run accommodation, the opportunity to work with the very best conductors within a safe and friendly environment. Singing Holidays is not about mass production and it’s not just a week away in the sun (although, of course it’s nearly always sunny and gorgeous!).
Is it a holiday? Yes, most definitely.
Is it a singing course? Yes, it is.
Will I just be one of many? Never
Is it like other choral holidays? No, it isn’t.
We always hoped that a Singing Holidays week would deliver an inspirational experience; we wanted it to deliver more than expected. What we didn’t bank on were the amazing friendships that have transpired from running the weeks and I truly believe that this is part and parcel of the small group environment and the amazing power of singing and making music together within an inspiring setting.