In June 2012 Coro Stellante travelled to Italy to take part in an International Choral Festival as guests of Coro Pacini, Michael Kibblewhite's male voice choir and organisers of the "Rassengna".
Coro Pacini's home town, Atri, in the Abbruzzo region, proved to be a delightful place to stay and enjoy, not for only the music but also for the stunning mountain scenery. The ladies' Italian hosts were incredibly hospitable and welcoming.
The first concert of the Rassengna was held in the Auditorium Sant Agostino with both choirs taking part individually and also, to everyone's great delight, singing some pieces together. The moving renditions of Allan Naplan's Al Shlosha d'Varim and Biebl's Ave Maria will remain in the memories not only of the singers but also in those of the audience. Also taking part in the Rassengna was Coro Samnium Concentus, a delightful ladies' choir from Campobasso in Southern Italy. They performed a challenging repertoire with great technical excellence which impressed both audience and fellow singers alike.
After the concert, Coro Pacini hosted a party for all the singers in the town's Hotel du Parc, complete with impromptu singing which was a wonderful and relaxing way to unwind.
The following day's concert took place in impressive Chiostro del Palazzo Ducal, singing in the courtyard of the palace. The wonderful Coro Samnium Concentus opened the evening and again impressed everyone with the ease with which they sang such challenging and beautiful works. Coro Pacini and Coro Stellante's repertoire was more secular on this occasion, with the groups again performing a selection of pieces separately and together. The choirs' rendition of Shenandoah and Michael Kibblewhite's arrangement of Beat me Daddy will stay long in the memory of the people of Atri!
After a free day on Monday in which to enjoy the Atri market and an excursion into the mountains, Tuesday found us rehearsing for our final concert of the tour. This time the venue was in the beautiful Chiesa Parrocchiale in the town of Biscenti. The church was filled to capacity to hear Coro Stellante and Coro Pacini, joined this time by two other choirs conducted by Michael Kibblewhite: Coro Val Fino, and his delightful children's choir Coro Voci Bianche. The ladies of Coro Stellante were thrilled to perform with Michael's three other choirs and the enthusiastic audience were very appreciative, with each piece receiving a standing ovation! The highlight of the evening was the final rendition of Va Pensiero, the unofficial national anthem of Italy. To say the roof was raised would be an understatement!
After the concert another feast had been arranged on a moonlit terrace in the nearby town of Appignano. Fantastic food was in abundance and in what seemed to have become a tradition, the town echoed with the sounds of impromptu singing, no doubt helped by the copious amounts of wine which flowed so freely!
Click on the link below to read choir founding member Amanda's diary, written during the tour to Atri (opens in a new window)...
Tour Diary (PDF, 73KB)
Here are scans of the Rassegna Programme, showing the choirs in attendance and the repertoire performed. Click on an image to enlarge (opens in new browser).