UK Tour 2015, Cambridge
Text: Christoph Burckhardt und Julian Jaros, Photos: Pascal Staedeli
This year’s concert tour brought the Männerstimmen Basel across the English Channel to the United Kingdom. A long train journey from Basel via Paris and London to the famous University town Cambridge marked the beginning of our concert tour in the UK. We quickly got accustomed to local eating habits by having our first pub lunch– fish’n’chips with a pint of Ale.
We started our musical tour with a concert at St. Botolph’s Church in the very heart of beautiful Cambridge on Sunday afternoon. A solid first concert on this tour reassured us that we had mastered our programme.
As one of our choir members is an alumnus of Queens’ College Cambridge, we benefited from the support of Suzy Digby, OBE and were shown a unique inside look into the life of that college. Queens' is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the university, founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou (the Queen of Henry VI, who founded King's College), and has some of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge. The college spans both sides of the river Cam, colloquially referred to as the "light side" and the "dark side", with the world-famous Mathematical Bridge connecting the two.
The 31 colleges of Cambridge each have a gated campus on their own, with student and faculty accommodation, a chapel, catering services, sports facilities, libraries, and more. Together with the research institutes, these colleges form the University of Cambridge – asking for the ‘main building’ of the university is therefore futile.
We got the chance to sing the Evensong in the chapel, together with Queens’ College Chapel Choir. We then brought a bit of Swiss spirit into the Anglican College Chapel by performing Psalm 121 (G.A. Derungs) in Romansh. After the service, we seized the opportunity to mingle with the choristers of Queens’ with a glass of Sherry and at a traditional Formal Dinner. An after dinner chorale toast of the wonderful Slavonic piece „Spasenie sodelal“ as well as drinks at the College Bar marked the harmonic end of a truly special day.
On the next day, we explored Cambridge by punt. Is there anything more relaxing than punting on the river Cam on a sunny afternoon? Some people amongst us turned out to be skilled punters, and surprisingly, nobody went for an involuntary swim.
We will certainly remember the unique opportunity to get an insight into student life behind the College walls as a highlight of our tour. However, more was yet to come as London and other places across the UK were awaiting us.
We are grateful for the generous support by Suzy Digby OBE and her team (Silas Wollston, Tim Harling, Lord Eatwell) at Queens’ College Cambridge, and also for the help by Professor William Horbury at St. Botolph’s church! Thank you ever so much your hospitality.
With the generous support of: