We are delighted to be holding our twenty-first Sacred Choral Course at the wonderful four-star Palazzo Loup, set in the beautiful Emilia-Romagna countryside just outside the charming town of Loiano. Set in secluded grounds with glorious views across the valley, the Palazzo is the ideal setting for a great week of music-making, relaxation and discovering the best that this fantastic region has to offer. A healthy combination of music, delicious food and wine and an active social schedule will guarantee a memorable holiday.
Our director of music is the dynamic and inspiring conductor Neil Ferris. He is supported by accompanist Michael Higgins and vocal coach Joanna Tomlinson. The course features sacred choral works from ancient to modern for SATB choir and will provide the repertoire for a public concert at the end of the week at a local venue.
The aim of the course is to raise choral singing skills. Rehearsals focus on vocal technique, and during the sessions we work on aspects of tone, blending, breathing and intonation as well as musical interpretation. We also encourage participants to bring material for smaller groups (e.g. madrigals or part-songs) and coaching is offered to individuals and small groups. At the end of the week an informal ‘barbecue concert’ provides an opportunity for these items to be performed for the rest of the group.
All participants are offered a one-to-one singing lesson with Joanna during the week.
Music is made available in advance of the course via printable downloads and audio files. A rehearsal will be held in central London a few weeks before the course to give participants the opportunity to meet one another and sing some of the music. More details about this rehearsal will follow after registration.
As well as providing a rewarding singing experience, we aim to give participants the opportunity to enjoy a truly memorable holiday. A typical day will include a morning rehearsal followed by a buffet lunch, after which there will be sectionals or individual voice sessions. Afternoon excursions usually depart at around 3pm and return in time for dinner, with the exception of the excursion to Bologna which will return at around 10pm.
On the penultimate evening there is a barbecue with informal performances by participants (optional!) and our final concert is held in a local venue on the last evening.
Emilia-Romagna is famous for its beautiful countryside, fast cars, rolling vineyards and is the gastronomic heart of Italy. During the week, excursions are planned alongside the musical schedule; we have selected some highlights which we hope will give a taste of the history and culture of this great region.
- An afternoon and evening to discover the beautiful city of Bologna
- Visit to the medieval village of Dozza, one of the 100 “Borghi più belli d’Italia”
- Tour and tasting in a top-class vineyard
- Opportunity for a night visit to the astronomical observatory of Loiano (weather permitting)
All of the above excursions are included in the price of the course.
Palazzo Loup is a comfortable country hotel which offers excellent facilities. Set in private grounds, the Palazzo has an abundance of secluded corners in which to relax and unwind, as well as an outdoor swimming pool with views out over the valley. There is also a spa onsite (available at an additional cost).
Accommodation at the Palazzo is in well-appointed twin and double bedrooms, all with ensuite bathrooms, and is allocated on a room-share basis. If you are coming with a friend, or wish to share a room with someone in particular, please let us know. Single occupancy rooms (double or twin ensuite) are available for a supplement of £195; if you wish to reserve one, please indicate this when you book.
The Emilia-Romagna region is renowned for its gourmet cuisine and delicious local specialities which we will enjoy at Palazzo Loup. All meals (except evening meal in Bologna) will be prepared by the hotel’s acclaimed chefs and will comprise a buffet breakfast, two-course lunch, and three-course evening meal.
We are able to cater for most special dietary requirements; please let us know of any on your booking form.
The total cost of the course is £1295 and includes everything except your return flight to Italy.
- Seven nights full-board ensuite accommodation
- All meals (except evening meal in Bologna)
- Excursions and activities
- Transfer from Bologna airport and local transportation (for organised excursions)
- Tuition and all other course costs
- Individual singing lesson
Participants are required to book their own travel to Bologna airport, where a coach will collect the group. Please ensure that you arrive at the airport by 2.30pm on Saturday 18th August and that your departure on Saturday 25th August is no earlier than 12.00pm, to coincide with the coach transfer.
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If you wish to bring your own car, parking is available on site. Please let us know in advance and we will supply directions.