India tour 2011
Ishirini's tour to India in Spring 2011 was a great success, thanks to the hospitality and help of a huge number of people.
We launched the tour in Alverstoke, near Gosport in Hampshire. The children of the choir of St. Mary's Church joined us to sing our new commission, out of the mouths of children by Peter Allwood. This piece, which fused a Tagore song with a psalm and a setting of a poem by Ezra Pound, encapsulated our repertoire for the tour, which celebrated Bengal's renowned polymath, Rabindranath Tagore, in his 150th anniversary.
We left for India in April. In Kolkata, we performed at the Union Chapel and in St. Paul's Cathedral in collaboration with children from the Mathieson Music School. The latter concert received media attention in the Times of India and the Telegraph.
In Kalimpong, we collaborated with local schools, the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute and Dr. Graham's Homes. We spent a day in workshops exchanging music with children and teachers from ITBCI, and we performed in the Tibetan cultural centre, the Mani Lhakang and the Katharine Graham chapel, school chapel for Dr Graham's Homes.
We are very proud to have received the following feedback from our wonderful hosts in the Holumba Haven guest-house in Kalimpong: "The program that me & my family attended was once in a life time experience for us. I hope that when my children are older, they would endeavor to grasp & learn how to experience, work and live with music in their lives. I would like to thank the whole choir once again for coming to Kalimpong with such an open heart & mind ... interacting with our society, and for sharing your beautiful music with the Tibetan community of Kalimpong."
We rounded off the tour back in the UK, singing in the first concert of the Tagore Festival in Dartington on 1st May. The whole experience is difficult to sum up in a few words. To see more details of the tour as it unfolded, see our blog, written by choir founder Naomi Rouse.