Swiss collaboration for Fernhurst Choral Society

England meets Switzerland in an exciting musical collaboration coming up in Chichester.


For their summer concert, Fernhurst Choral Society joins forces Le Chant Sacré from Geneva, plus the Fernhurst Chamber Orchestra for an evening of Schubert at St Paul’s Church, Chichester on Saturday, May 30 at 7.30pm (tickets on

Fernhurst’s musical director (and Chichester Cathedral assistant organist) Tim Ravalde suggested Schubert’s Mass in A flat for the concert; his Swiss counterpart suggested Schubert’s German Stabat Mater. “Le Chant Sacré are a largish choir from Geneva, and they appear to be very good,” Tim said. “They have a very impressive web presence, and they appear to have a young and very ambitious musical director. Fernhurst Choral Society has always had a very outward-looking agenda, which I like. In the past, we have done exchanges with other choirs in Europe, and our committee decided it would be good to go down that track again. We approached various choirs in Europe, and this was the one we thought we could get on very well with. In a way, we found each other. This May they are coming to us, and then in April 2016, we will go to them. We will be singing in Geneva, which will be brilliant. There is no plan to continue after that, but if it all goes amazingly well, I don’t see why we couldn’t repeat it. At the moment, we are just taking it one step at a time.

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“It allows us to meet a choir from a very different background, but it also allows us to combine to form a big choir of 120, and with that, we can do some big music we couldn’t approach on our own.


“We will meet them socially on the Thursday before the concert. Both choirs have been learning the music since January independently, however many hundred miles apart. We will sing together on Friday at rehearsals, and then we will put it all together on the Saturday.

“When you are rehearsing independently, it is inevitable that to some extent you will go down slightly-different paths. We know that from the Southern Cathedrals Festival (which rotates between Chichester, Salisbury and Winchester bringing together the three cathedral choirs), but the exciting thing is that you can learn from each other’s interpretations.”

Tim is hoping as many people as possible will come along to enjoy it.