italy tour poster

information from our most recent performance tour of Italy can be found on our blog at




England tour 06









The Quire of Voyces recently completed a successful Scandinavian Tour in the Summer 2000. Shown here shortly before their triumphant concert at the Gotland Medieval Festival in Visby, Sweden. The tour saw them performing in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. The impetus for this tour was the possibility of a performance at the prestigious Gotland Medieval Festival in Sweden, and an active board of directors responsible for raising the necessary funds to take the choir. In total the board managed to raise nearly $50,000 for the members of the ensemble to travel at a rate of only $500 apiece. The tour began in Helsinki, Finland on Sunday, July 30th, with a performance at the Agricola Church during a mass. The somewhat jet-lagged group had a wonderful performance as part of the service. The following day, the Quire and our entourage (53 people in all) took a bus tour of the city of Helsinki, home to Sibelius.
We had an opportunity for an impromptu performance at the Church of the Rock, an impressive Lutheran church built into a massive stone. After a day of touring, the Quire gave a performance at the Cathedral of Helsinki. The next morning the group transferred to the Nordic Jet Line ship for an excursion to Tallinn, Estonia. We toured this beautiful medieval walled city during the afternoon and had yet another performance in a beautiful small cathedral, Michaels Church, with the most marvellous acoustics and an appreciative audience. After a free afternoon in Tallinn, we reluctantly boarded another ship for an overnight cruise to Stockholm. The group managed to entertain themselves on the boat with the myriad of restaurants, bars and casinos on board. Much of the group, including our tour guide Sten, ended up dancing the night away with the Swedes, Finns and Estonians. The next morning we began our day with a tour of the Vasa Ship Museum. The Vasa is an early Swedish ship that was excavated from the Stockholm harbor and restored to its original beauty. We also visited the City Hall and walked through the streets of the Old Town. We enjoyed a much needed day off the following day, with free time in Stockholm to explore the town, islands and surrounding areas, or shop in the exclusive Swedish stores. On Saturday, August 5th we left Stockholm on a ferry to Visby, home of the Gotland Medieval Festival.
We met Vivika, our guide in Visby, who was also the founder of this festival some fifteen years ago. The dynamic lady was dressed in Medieval garb for the entirety of our stay, as was most of the town¹s residents. The population of the town which is in the lower thousands, swells to over 10,000 for the festival.That evening we were treated to a private dinner in a house built in the 1500's. The Medieval dinner was served by women in costume, and we were treated to a performance on period instruments during our dinner. It was an unexpected treat, and an experience that none will forget. The director of the festival, Peter Ringborg, was also in attendance at that special welcome dinner. The following day was most exciting, the opening of the Festival. We attended the opening ceremonies, complete with proclamations, medieval guards, dancers, royalty and music. The day was spent touring the town and visiting the kiosks where people in costume made jewelry, and blacksmiths worked as they would have 500 years ago. It was truly an amazing experience.
After seeing the ceremonial entrance of the Danish king on horseback, the Quire went to the Visby Cathedral to rehearse for the evenings performance. The concert that evening was no less special than the day had been. The Quire performed works of the early Renaissance composer, Josquin, which would have been performed at that time, in a Medieval church. The Quire of Voyces was the first American choir to have performed at the Medieval Festival. The concert was truly stunning, and the audience would not let the choir leave, their applause seemed to continue forever. It was the peak experience for most of the group, and unforgettable concert. The following day we reluctantly left our new favorite place to travel to the island of Fårö.
This majestic setting is home to many strange rock formations on the beach, similar to Easter Island, but natural formations. We had a special dinner at the home where Ingmar Bergman filmed the movie ³Shame². This wonderful dinner was followed by another performance of the Quire in a small church on the Island. The following day, the group travelled to Oskarshamn in the mountains, and Målerås, glassworks on the mainland of Sweden. That evening the group performed their last concert in the Kalmar Castle in the south of Sweden. The concert marked an end to a beautiful series of concert performances and a wonderful tour. The following day we transferred to Copenhagen using the recently opened bridge across the sound between Denmark and Sweden. That evening we had a tour of Tivoli Gardens and our farewell dinner. All in all, it was a marvellous trip, the participants and the Quire all had a wonderful experience. Many thanks to our fantastic and hard-working board of directors for raising the necessary funds, our supporters who made it possible, and the administration at Santa Barbara City College for supporting the trip. Thank you.

I think the tour was fantastic. It went so smoothly and was enjoyable the whole time. It was such a great opportunity to sing in those beautiful settings. From the stunning old churches, to the lovely cities, to the tour guides and friends we made along the way, everything contributed to a very special trip. I am very grateful to have been a part of this experience, and will hold the memories dear. -Debbie Wynne

A once in a life time experience. That's probably not too original but true nonetheless. Got to see and experience so many places I now plan to return to one day. Being the first group to be invited to sing in the Gotland Medieval festival was such an honor and surprise. I had no idea until Gary (or you)? announced that little tidbit when we got to Estonia. Every concert was more wonderful for me; well, OK, not that second one, but all the rest. I felt a little possessed by the music by that last concert. Carried away. I can't think how to express it. Well, you know me. I was the one crying through the second half of most of the concerts! -Ann Burridge

David and I were extremely pleased with the efficiency in which the tour of Russia and Scandinavia was handled. Our accommodations were excellent and the daily tours were well planned. We were most happy to be in the company of the Quire of Voyces (and friends). Nice group of people! And of course the music was outstanding! It was a pleasure.-Dr. and Mrs. David Bohn

I thought that the trip was outstanding. It was a joy to hear the Quire in so many settings -- each was different -- some more beautiful than others. Although I understand that singing in the Church of the Rock was difficult, it was a very moving experience. Each concert had its special moments, as did the church service in Helsinki. I look forward to the next concert. You have brought outstanding music to Santa Barbara. Thank you. -Margo Chapman







The ensemble is proud to be a part of the Santa Barbara City College Music Deparment.