Westminster Abbey, Day 2

In spite of singing eight services with accompanying rehearsals in the Abbey, the Schola may spend even more time behind the scenes in the rehearsal room at Cheney gates where they will fret not only over notes and tempo, but consonants and breaths. As with so much of life, it’s here, behind the scenes, where the bulk of the work is done.  Here’s a little peek at the morning rehearsal, where the choir moves from their warm-ups exercises (AH’s and numbers, and the ever fun “Copper Bottomed Coffee Pot”) to the beauty of their prayers in song.

Westminster Abbey, Day 1

At 5:00 pm this evening twenty-nine choristers and choir members quietly entered the chancel of Westminster Abbey to take their part in an ancient rhythm of daily prayer.  

In fact, for over a thousand years, as the Abbey grew up around them, worshippers have gathered here to offer their daily prayers, prayers which expressed not only their deepest desires and most profound sorrows, but their daily worries and seemingly simple burdens, with the confidence that no prayer is too large, nor any too small, for the caring heart of God.

Welcome to the Choir Trip 2017!

Welcome to the blog of the Christ Church Schola's trip to England 2017! We are very excited to share our experiences with you as we travel together as pilgrims to some of the most beautiful sacred spaces in the world. We will be in residence, singing services at Westminster Abbey from July 24-30 and Salisbury Cathedral from July 31-August 5. If you won't have an opportunity to hear us in England, we invite you to:

​Bon Voyage Concert
Christ Church Grosse Pointe
​Friday, July 21, 7 pm
Freewill Offering

Hope to see you there!

Barcelona, Montserrat, and Home Safe

After a whirlwind of a week, it was finally time to visit our last city, Barcelona. It was clear when we first arrived that Barcelona was worth the wait. An incredibly vibrant, historic, and happening city. There was so much to see and do and, sadly, we only had two days to get it all in!

Quick stop in Zaragoza on our way to our final destination: Barcelona

Lately some of us have been reflecting on the role of Mary in the Christian faith. As the choir sings in Spanish churches we've been noticing the statues and paintings depicting Mary. We've been noticing how she's often dressed in blue. We've been reflecting on our own piety and the place that we offer to Mary. We've had some conversations about whether the virgin birth actually happened. 

Toledo and concert in Chin Chon

Today we visited the city of Toledo. Our first stop was the Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes. It is a 15th-century Franciscan monastery and church where our choir sang at the 1pm Eucharistic service. The choir did a fabulous job. Although we might not all have understood every word in the service, the structure of the liturgy was familiar to us and praying together felt like a good thing at this turning point in the trip.

El Escorial and concert at the Catedral Magistral

After a hearty breakfast, we headed out of Madrid to San Lorenzo de El Escorial. El Escorial is a palace-monastery, designated a world-heritage site by UNESCO. It was ordered to be built by King Philip II in the 16th century. It is currently still the site of an Augustinian monastic community. It has two royal apartments, one each for the king and queen of Spain. Each apartment is located on either side of the sanctuary, right beside the altar (King Philip II could take communion from his bedroom).

Córdoba and the Prado

It's such a joy to be on this trip! It's been a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know one another better. It has also provided us with much to reflect on, particularly when it comes to the history of the relationship between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Our visit to the Mezquita, or the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, was another glimpse into that history. The Mezquita is an architectural hybrid; mixing various epoques of Moorish and Christian architectural styles. Prior to being a mosque it was the site of a Christian Visigothic church.


Another beautiful day in Spain and a wonderfully full and exciting day in Seville. We began the day with yet another hearty breakfast and a walking tour of the city. It was indeed hot as predicted, but worth every moment.

Ronda and Flamenco

Our time in Granada ended this morning with a hearty breakfast and the memories of a wonderful first stop on our trip. As I mentioned in my last post, we were all pretty tired by the end of the day and I think everyone was eager to get to bed. Singing a concert is indeed a lot of work, but doing so after a full day in a foreign city is another story. When I woke up this morning, some of the parents that attended the concert showed me a few pictures that they took as we sang. As the sun set over the Hospital, it was quite beautiful.