Programme

Singing Holidays | Choral Singing in the Lot/Dordogne

Singing Holidays conducted by Anke de Bruijn in the mild months of June/July and September in  Soutwest France – Gather with an international group of fellow singers in the picturesque, unspoilt area between the medieval towns of Sarlat and Cahors, just on the border of the départements of the Lot and Dordogne. You will enjoy a week full of coaching and choral singing with an inspiring teacher. Anke believes that singing is the soul in flight. You will learn a technique that allows you to free your voice. You will focus on breath support, vowel formation and posture. You will also have enough time for sightseeing, relaxing and enjoying this beautiful area.

Unique! A different church for every day

Ours is not a singing holiday that requires you to stay in one location isolated from the rest of the world. We will venture out into the countryside and discoverhidden treasures that normally remain closed: stunning romanesque churches with great acoustics. The archdiocese of Cahors has given us special permission to use these ancient buildings, and stepping inside them is like stepping into the Middle Ages. All churches are within a fifteen minute drive of Cazals (our headquarters).

The programme of your Singing Holidays:

working your vocal technique …

We start each day focusing on our instrument: the body that channels the voice. Anke explains the principle of breath support focussing on becoming more aware of the body – which muscles to use and which to leave alone – striking a good balance between tension and relaxation.  In addition to more traditional vocal exercises, Anke teaches about vowel formation and how to approach a repertoire efficiently. Scroll down for sample repertoire.

…enjoying great food…

We sing until lunchtime, then you are free to roam around the Lot & Dordogne until it is time for apéro and dinner.

…roaming the beautiful surroundings…

It is so inspiring to sing in a different venue every day. The little churches of the Lot / Dordogne villages are usually over 800 years old and their atmosphere and acoustics are amazing. In some of these villages, there is a restaurant to enjoy a good lunch in, or you may find a great picnic spot with dazzling views of the countryside. One of the churches we go to is in Les Arques which is where famous sculptor Ossip Zadkine founded an artist community in the thirties.

…singing good music…

The repertoire is a mix of styles. We sing arrangements that are challenging but accessible to all. You don’t have to be able to sightread. However we do expect you to prepare, and we provide mp3 recordings to help you to do that! Sheet music is also provided in advance.

…achieving a great sound…

So… in just a week we will create a good sounding ‘pop-up’ choir in which the individual voice – your voice – plays an important part. Anke’s mission is to teach you to sing freely, and to feel safe enough to let that voice out when you perform on the last evening, joined by local singers.

…and enjoying your holiday in France

The other part of your Singing Holiday week is of course to take time out for a holiday. The Lot / Dordogne region is full of delights: medieval towns, the Lot, Dordogne and Célé rivers, fairy tale castles, prehistoric caves, a glass of rosé in the shade of plane trees… Sarlat, with its legendary Saturday market, Cahors, Rocamadour and St Cirq Lapopie are all within an hour’s drive.

Book now: send us a message to receive your booking form by email.

Here is a sample programme of a Singing Holiday in Southwest France:

Chaste fille de Latone (G.W. von Gluck, 18th century)
Dindirindin (16th century, in local ancient language)
Enemiga le soy, madre (16th century, Spain)
Kyrie eleison (Taizé song by J. Berthier, 20th century)
O happy day (the famous gospel song)
Regina coeli (glorious version by baroque composer A. Lotti)
The long day closes (G. Sullivan, 19th century)
Auprès de ma blonde (traditional French song arranged by Anke)
Sumer is icumen in (the first ever worldly song written in Old English, 12th century)
L’inamorato (baroque balletto by G. Gastoldi)
Wem kan segla forütan vind (old Swedish song arranged by Anke)
Parlez-moi d’amour (famous French chanson)
…and a few solo songs.