The University Singers Perform at Westminster Abbey
KEENE, TEX. – “The opportunity of a lifetime,” “a mind-blowing experience,” “the best week of my life,” “unforgettable memories,” “an experience beyond my wildest dreams,” “my most treasured memory,” “a once-in-a-lifetime experience” and “the highlight of my university years,” were just some of the remarks from members of The University Singers after their recent concert tour to the United Kingdom. From Aug. 11-18, The Singers, together with British composer Philip W. Stopford, were invited to perform at Westminster Abbey, Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Cathedral. Off days were filled with visits to Windsor, Oxford and London, where The Singers immersed themselves in the country’s rich traditions, history and culture.
“Having been invited to Southwestern Adventist University last February to premiere ‘God Is Our Hope and Strength,’ it was an absolute delight to welcome the Singers to the United Kingdom,” said Stopford. “The concert at Quarr Abbey and church services at Portsmouth Cathedral and Westminster Abbey were utterly wonderful. I was so impressed not only by the sound and musical mastery of this choir but by the way these young people engaged in the requirements of the liturgy and style of music required for worship in the Anglican Church which they performed so beautifully. It was a proud moment for me to have recommended this choir to sing at Westminster Abbey and for them to be immediately invited back at some point in the future.”
The Singers were accompanied by a string quartet led by music professor, Rogério Nunes, D.M.A., for the entirety of the tour. “If there is something that thrills, excites and motivates us as musicians, it is having the opportunity to perform in places where most of the music composed was meant to be performed,” said Nunes. “On this trip, performing in centuries-old churches was a sublime experience and definitely one that our students will never forget!”
The Singers and Strings were also musical guests on the weekend at the Newbold Seventh-day Adventist Church on the campus of Newbold College of Higher Education. Sandra Rigby-Barrett, Ph.D., former director of Adventist Colleges Abroad and fine arts faculty at Newbold College, was one of the many generous tour hosts. “The congregation at Newbold church in Binfield were deeply blessed by the music ministry of the Southwestern Adventist University choir and instrumentalists. Indeed, it was a great honor to host this beautiful and highly accomplished choir.”
Ana Patterson, Southwestern Adventist University president, shared, “Invitations to perform in London at Westminster Abbey, Quarr Abbey and Portsmouth Cathedral are a true testament to the Department of Music’s dedication to excellence. Under the direction of a distinguished team of professors, students are able to fine tune their talents and share them for the Glory of God. We are so proud of their performances and grateful for the many opportunities for Southwestern Adventist University students to excel through music.”
Since 2012, The University Singers have traveled to 18 countries sharing the gospel message through music.
For more highlights from the tour, read the full article at SWAU.edu/news.
By Jonathan E. L. Wall
Associate Professor of Music