Submitted by Canon James Buonemani, director of The Choir of Saint James.
We are just about halfway through our tour (time indeed flies!) and with three performances under our belt, we are excited about the remaining two, both of which take place in the beautiful coastal town of Galway. So many magical memories are already swirling in mind and here are a few of the most striking:
- Architecture! Not only of magnificent stone cathedrals but also the amazing “marriage” between these structural wonders and the architecture of the music we make within their walls. Somehow, the two art forms merge together to convey powerful and mystical imagery – food for the soul!
- Speaking of food – Ireland’s pubs are where the gastronomical delights are! “Pub food” doesn’t normally conjure up fine dining (especially for us Americans), but I think the best seafood chowder I’ve ever had (at the enthusiastic recommendation of Robert Ronus, who discovered the place) was at the “Flying Enterprise Lounge” – not far from St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork!
- Another delightful surprise, at least for me personally, was being treated to a performance of my Preces and Responses, sung beautifully by the Choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo, NY for Evensong at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. It was especially lovely to visit this multi-generational choir of professional men, women and choristers of boys and girls (the littlest of which was about 7 years old!) after their performance – and being treated like a rock star composer. Such fun and joy to see these miniature pieces, originally written for our own Choir of Saint James for their first tour to Westminster Abbey in 1999, take on a life of their own and being enjoyed by so many choirs and congregants across the English-speaking world.
- Above all else, has been the joy of seeing our choir members and touring party enjoying each other’s company – solidifying friendships and forging new ones, relishing the sights and sounds of this beautiful country and singing their hearts out, mystically joining with voices of souls hundreds of years old in these places of profound history and spiritual awakening. We are one with them and with each other, and that is truly what this journey is about!