India is a tourist paradise but is far less known - at present - as a destination for Western musical groups to perform in. That is all changing and ACFEA is proud to be in the Vanguard of this change.
We were delighted to work with our long-time client, Eton College Chapel Choir, for their tour to India in March 2015. The Choir had been invited to perform and entertain at the Maharaja of Jodhpur’s “One World Retreat”, a major fund raising weekend event for the Indian Head Injuries Foundation which the Maharaja founded following a tragic injury to his son and heir.
ACFEA added tour arrangements for the Choir in Mumbai, where the boys participated in joint workshops and a farewell concert with local disadvantaged children under the auspices of the UK charity, Songbound. There was also a fiercely contested cricket match!
The Choir’s trip ended with two sell-out concerts, one in the National Centre of Performing Arts and the other in St Peter’s Church, Bandra, both with the Symphony Orchestra of India. This extraordinary and memorable project gave the students an amazing “Maharaja to the Mumbai slums” introduction to a country that fully lived up to its Tourist Office’s billing as “Incredible India”.
We also arranged two performances of the Verdi Requiem for the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus in Mumbai, the members of the choir taking the opportunity to travel to various regions of India before and after the concerts on itineraries specially set up for them by ACFEA.
In August 2015 the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (NYOS) enjoyed a superbly successful tour around this vast country. The symphony orchestra’s packed itinerary included visits to awe-inspiring sights such as the Yu Gardens in Shanghai, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, as well as taking an exciting overnight sleeper train from Shanghai to Beijing. The students even performed Scottish jigs on board the train, entertaining the locals in one of the carriages while the larger instruments were safely stored in another! Our China Concert Representative Nick Smith, who was awarded the OBE for his work in Anglo-Chinese cultural relations, ensured that NYOS performed to thousands in world class concert halls in Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin.
China, Hong Kong and other Asian destinations, such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, provide such unique opportunities for western performances and we continue to make tailor-made, affordable itineraries a reality. ACFEA is excited to be taking Berkshire Maestros, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and City of Glasgow Chorus on tour to this exciting region in 2016.
China has become one of our most popular long-haul destinations. This is largely thanks to our exclusive ACFEA representatives in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and their negotiation and organisational skills.
Spain is a very popular destination with ACFEA touring groups, due to the Mediterranean sunshine, wonderful food, and the appreciative full audiences. Venues range from majestic cathedrals to state of the art concert halls, castle courtyards and well-appointed outdoor venues.
One of the many choirs who visited in 2015 was London Oratory School Schola Cantorum who were filmed for National Spanish television during their Mass participation in Toledo Cathedral.
Spain also offers the opportunity for a two-centre tour – perhaps catch the ferry to Morocco? Or cross the border to Portugal?
Budapest boasts not only some of the best Art Nouveau architecture in Europe, but also houses a vast array of performance opportunities for all group types.
In 2015 El Camino Youth Symphony enjoyed a full house and standing ovation at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall. The Chorus of Westerly performed Dvorák’s Stabat Mater with the Danube Symphony Orchestra in the glorious Matthias Church, and Davidson UMC Choir experienced the thrill of singing mass in the awe-inspiring St Stephen’s Basilica.
Wonderful performances and very appreciative audiences enabled thrilling and successful concert tours for the groups that performed there.