Category: Cathedrals

2019 August | Tour to Belgium

In August 2019 we ventured abroad once more for a short tour of Belgium. Our programme consisted of works by 16th-century European composers, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After an incredibly smooth and hitch-free journey on the Eurostar, we arrived in Ghent, only to encounter our first problem: where was Tenor 2? After several failed attempts at locating the coffee shop where he had apparently been hiding out since arriving from Munich earlier in the day, we eventually (literally) bumped into each other in the middle of a road and continued our journey to the hostel where we were to spend the next three nights.

The hostel kindly allowed us the use of their conference room for a short rehearsal; once we’d got used to the unnerving presence of the is-it-a-fish-or-is-it-a-giant-worm model we had a productive time and retired feeling positive about the next day’s performances.

Friday saw us sing in two very different venues: St Michael’s Church in the afternoon (see post-concert photo below) and St Paul’s Church in the evening. The latter’s acoustic was simply stunning, and we hugely appreciated the reception laid on by the not insignificant audience, who in turn appreciated our director’s attempts at speaking Dutch, and even laughed at a joke or two. A late-night trip out for a quick meal saw Tenor 2 experience the delights of McDonald’s for the first time (he eventually triumphed over the electronic ordering system [despite its attempts to eat him], although not without some lasting trauma), and Tenor 1 let loose in Ghent as he didn’t fancy the tram.

On Saturday we enjoyed a boat-trip in the morning (complete with collapsing umbrellas), and visited St Bavo’s Cathedral for our third and final performance, before enjoying the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. There was great excitement at the prospect of a visit to a ‘cat café’, but we opted for waffles and sight-seeing instead before regrouping for a final meal prior to our departure the next morning.

Thanks must go to Rayburn Tours for organising such a hassle-free trip, and to our director Louisa Denby (who in turn would like to thank all those who sang).


2018/19 New Year in St Davids

In December 2018 we returned to Pembrokeshire to sing services in St Davids Cathedral and to give a special New Year’s Eve concert in our beloved Trefin Chapel. It was a truly magical time and we are hugely grateful to everyone who packed out both the cathedral and the concert.

View from the organ loft.
The gents hard at work relaxing…
After the concert in Trefin Chapel.

August 2017 | Tour to St Davids

We made our biennial trip to St Davids in Pembrokeshire in August 2017, where once again we sang services and concerts in the Cathedral and surrounding area. With a programme entitled ‘Music on Themes of Love and Devotion,’ we performed pieces by 20th- and 21st-century composers including Gjeilo, Walton, Poulenc, and MacMillan. We were very pleased to be able to contribute once more to the restoration of Trefin Chapel, with a service of Compline and a Family Concert (including audience participation, animal noises, and a conductor clad in a chicken hat). We also enjoyed time on various beaches, and singing services in St Davids Cathedral.

Relaxing on the beach…

In rehearsal in St Davids Cathedral.



August 2016 | Tour to Ireland

In August 2016 we ventured abroad for the first time, to sing a concert and two services at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork, Ireland.

The concert on the Saturday, based loosely around the theme of ‘prayer,’ featured works by Renaissance composers from England, including Byrd’s Be unto me, O Lord, a tower and Tomkins’ Arise, O Lord, and Europe (Palestrina’s Exultate Deo and Lobo’s Versa est in luctum were particular highlights), as well as a selection of more modern pieces with organ accompaniment, of which Andrew Millington’s joyful setting of Psalm 150 went down especially well with the large audience. Following a short break and rehearsal for the following day’s services, we hit the town (!), spending an enjoyable and slightly surreal evening sampling the local nightlife.

In concert.
In concert.

The following day we returned to the Cathedral to sing for the morning Eucharist – Palestrina’s Missa sine nomine – after which we were plied with coffee and biscuits (so many versions of custard creams!) by members of the congregation, before a delicious lunch at the nearby Flying Enterprise.

Evensong consisted of Howells in E, and the Rose responses for men’s voices, followed by Wood’s haunting View me, Lord, rounded off by a fabulous rendition of the Toccata from Duruflé’s Suite V, played by the equally fabulous David Warren.


August 2015 | Summer Tour

Vox Cantab’s 2015 summer tour began with a much-anticipated return to the lovely Trefin Chapel, near St Davids in Pembrokeshire, where the Choir were extremely warmly-received in 2013. We also gave a performance in St Mary’s, Haverfordwest, and in St Davids Cathedral, as part of their summer recital series. The week finished with Evensong at the Cathedr2015 Aug VC TUESDAY beach1al, and we were delighted to have Dr Rowan Williams in the congregation.


We were pleased to welcome back prize-winning organist Tim Parsons to play and conduct for us once more, along with our director Louisa Denby. The Choir also undertook visits to local hospices and nursing homes as part of our Summer Outreach Project.


St Davids 2015 Tour Schedule

Sunday 16th August, 7.30pm
Trefin Chapel, Trefin, Pembrokeshire

Family Concert

The programme included a range of music both sacred and secular, from 16th-century polyphony through to our own arrangements of Welsh Folk Songs. The audience joined in enthusiastically when the opportunity arose!


Monday 17th August, 7.30pm
St Mary’s Church, Haverfordwest

Wednesday 19th August, 7.30pm
St Davids Cathedral, St Davids

Like as the Hart | A Concert of Psalm Settings

In concert.
In concert.

The programme included works by Renaissance composers Byrd, Lassus, and Palestrina, and moving through the centuries Purcell, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Vaughan Williams, and others, finishing with a new work, ‘The Lord is King’, but our very own Timothy Parsons, and Parry’s iconic ‘I was Glad’.



Tuesday 18th August, 9.30pm

Trefin Chapel, Trefin, Pembrokeshire

Choral Compline

Introit  Jesu, the very thought – Bairstow
Anthem  My soul, there is a country – Parry
Antiphon  Salve Regina – Poulenc




Pre-service hilarity.
Pre-service hilarity.

Thursday 20th August, 6pm
St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire


Responses  Reading
Canticles  Tomkins Second
Anthem  Locus iste – Bruckner

May 2015 | Downing Evensong

The new Tickell organ at Downing College, Cambridge.

On Sunday 17th May at 6pm, members of Vox Cantab sang Evensong in the splendidly-refurbished Chapel at Downing College, Cambridge, accompanied by the fabulous new Tickell organ. The music included anthems by Williams Byrd and Mundy, and an organ voluntary by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.

Members of Vox Cantab after the Downing service
Members of Vox Cantab after the Downing service



August 2014 | Services at Portsmouth Cathedral

Services at Portsmouth Cathedral

Director Louisa Denby; Organ Ian Tindale

2014 Cathedral group photo


Victoria – Jesu, dulcis memoria

Haydn – Little Organ Mass (solo Catherine White)

Lassus – Ave verum corpus


Walford Davies – Blessed are the pure in heart

Clucas Responses

Brewer – Magnificat & Nunc dimittis in D

Bairstow – Lord, I call upon thee


Peter Leonard, Residentiary Canon at Portsmouth Cathedral

August 2013 | Residency at St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire

Residency at St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire
Conductor Louisa Denby; Organ Tim Parsons

Wrong gate, Tim!

Service repertoire

Ayleward Responses
Leighton Responses
Rose Responses
Wood – Evening Service No. 2 in Eb
Stanford – Magnificat & Nunc dimittis in C
Gibbons – Short Service
Howells – St Paul’s Evening Service
Britten – Te deum
Walton – Jubilate Deo
Mendelssohn – O for the wings of a dove
Parry – Blest Pair of Sirens
Stanford – Justorum anime
Joubert – O Lord, the maker of al thing
Balfour Gardiner – Evening Hymntrefin-welcome-board

Concert repertoire
Finnish trad. – Alleloila
Stanford – Beati quorum via
MacMillan – O Radiant Dawn
Holst – Nunc dimittis
Vaughan Williams – Selection from Five Choral Folksongs
Simmons – Flying
Aboriginal – Bele mama
Greene – O Clap your Hands
Pearsall – Lay a Garland
Morley – My Bonny Lass
Britten – The Evening Primrose
Harris – Faire is the Heaven
Trad. – One more time

The residency included workshops led by nationally-renowned animateur and vocal leader Amy Bebbington, and the Choir gave a community concert in the Chapel in Trefin Village, in order to raise funds for its continued refurbishment and to demonstrate its potential as a venue for the Arts.