The Summertown Singers

The Summertown Singers was formed in 2001 by Duncan Saunderson after an invitation to sing a concert in a white hilltop village in Andalucia. A group of friends, including some members of Summertown Choral Society, had such a good time they decided to go each summer for the next five years! And so a delightful singing holiday became an established event in the calendar.

Since our last trip to Andalucia in 2006, the choir has sung in Italy, France, more of Spain, Latvia, Portugal and Romania. A few examples of the highlights are raising 35,000 euros in one night for a stroke unit in Madrid, performing in one of La Rioja’s most prestigious wineries, singing Catalan folk songs to a standing ovation in Barcelona, rehearsing in a 12th century Bishop’s Palace in France, and performing Byrd’s Four Part Mass to a congregation of 700 in Santo Domingo, Spain.

The Summertown Singers is a small (around 30) unaccompanied chamber choir and, by definition, singers are more exposed, music can be more complex and some sight reading skills are useful. Although it is independent of Summertown Choral Society, Duncan is always delighted to hear from suitable singers. If unsure, a very informal audition can be arranged.

A typical repertoire might include a Renaissance Mass setting interspersed with madrigals, part songs and folk song arrangements. Some of the music might be well known, some unknown and some especially prepared for the trip.

Some practicalities:

  • The cost of the actual singing with the group is minimal (e.g. 2018 and 2019 were £35 each), as accommodation, transport and food are entirely DIY. Accommodation and car sharing are of course easy to organise.
  • The trip usually lasts a week, rehearsing from Monday with a concert on the Friday or Saturday.
  • We rehearse for up to 3 hours in the morning only, except for the day of the concert.
  • Partners and friends are welcome on the holiday.
  • Prior to the trip, there are about four rehearsals in Oxford, usually on Thursday evenings, after the SCS Summer concert has taken place.

There is no Summertown Singers trip this August. Duncan’s appointment as Director of Music at St. Michael and All Angels in Summertown involves a Summer trip and full duties in July. 

Click here for details of all previous trips.