further details of the course in Tobago for choral singers
led by JanJoost van Elburg
10 to 15 February 2019

   The Dutch conductor JanJoost van Elburg has been directing Lacock courses regularly since 1999, when he conducted the Monteverdi Vespers at the Lacock Summer School itself. This turned out to be the first of many musical appointments in England. Repeating the work at the Ludlow Summer School in 2017, he was asked by the Israeli music writer Pam Hickman: “I see you have a great love affair with England?” This was his reply: “I do indeed. It flows from several channels. I had a British uncle, which started my love for the English language. My work, however, frequently brings me to England: in the early 2000s I sang several concerts with the Tallis Scholars, working with Peter Phillips at the Tallis Scholars Summer School and, since 1999 have led many of Andrew van der Beek’s Lacock courses, as I am this week. In 2003 I started working in London, conducting The Singers of London and the Renaissance Singers. I conducted the Reading Bach Choir for several years and I still conduct the Bartholomew Consort in Oxford. I have directed a few of the “Grand Baroque” projects at Exeter Cathedral; in one we performed Muffat’s “Missa in Labore Requies”, one of those incredibly large-scale pieces with three orchestras, two choirs, eight soloists and six natural trumpets. Another very grand work I directed there was a Biber Mass, with two organs and two or three choirs. It was great fun. These large works are not performed often, but Blackdowns Early Music Project (which supports “Grand Baroque”) dares to produce these works because it believes in presenting them and I am very grateful that they do. So the love affair with England hasn’t stopped yet.”

The course is designed for choral singers with a taste for adventure. You should be a competent sight-reader, have a straight, blending voice with full dynamic range, be used to normal choral discipline and be able to respond quickly to direction. Participants are of all ages and nationalities and come alone, with a friend or partner, or in a group. JanJoost van Elburg is experienced at working with amateur musicians and the atmosphere is relaxed and informal. We will finally confirm the repertoire when we have an idea of the size and balance of the group. Our plan will be to meet in time for supper in one of the beach restaurants on Sunday 10 February 2019. Then on the following five days rehearse all morning (say from 9.30am to 1.00pm, with a break) in the Anglican church, then take an indulgent four-hour lunch break – to rest the voice as much as anything else – and then put in another couple of hours of singing before supper. We will also take any opportunities that present themselves to collaborate with local musicians. Throughout the week we’ll all eat together at different restaurants in the evening. We will give a public performance in the evening of Friday 15 February.

British Airways (Mondays and Fridays) and Virgin Atlantic (Tuesdays and Saturdays) both fly to Tobago from London Gatwick. At the moment (May) BA are charging £548 for a return ticket on the early-in-the-week flights next February. Your accommodation will be able to arrange a taxi to collect your from the airport for a fare in the region of £25 for two people. The places to stay are typically rooms in small guest houses, and apartments. You arrange your own accommodation. We will act as a clearing house for people wanting to get together to share apartments and on registration will send comments on the various establishments from people who have attended the course in previous years . Here are direct links to some of the places to stay in Castara, in no particular order:
Blue Mango Cottages
Sea Level Guesthouse
Castara Retreats
Angel Retreat
Sea Scape
Alibaba’s Sea Breeze
Castara Coffee House
Hidden Cottage
Castara Cottage
The Beach House
Porridge’s Place
Naturalist Beach Resort
Carpe Diem Villa

The fee for the course is £495, paid in two parts: a deposit of £240 or the equivalent in euros on registration (this will normally be returned in full if you have to withdraw before 1 November after that you may hold it over to another course) and £255 by 1 January. The fee includes payment for the music booklet, which will be sent to you in advance, with all the music for the course, but not meals, travel or accommodation. To enrol, just email us and include the information listed below, or if we already know it just let us know that you would like to come. We will then send you details of how you may pay the deposit.

      o your name
      o address (to send you the music booklet)
      o telephone number(s)
      o preferred email address
      o voice (soprano – mean/mezzo – alto – tenor – baritone – bass)