We are delighted to announce a fabulous new venue for 2020, the spectacular Parador de Monforte de Lemos in Galicia, Spain. A former Benedictine monastery originating from the 9th century, the Parador is built around a stunning Neo-classical cloister and is set above the typical Spanish town of Monforte de Lemos, an ideal base for discovering this region.
As with all our course venues, the Parador has excellent accommodation, a swimming pool, and 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 al fresco evening provides an opportunity for these items to be performed for the rest of the group.
All participants are offered a one-to-one singing tutorial with Joanna during the week.
Music is made available in advance of the course via printable downloads and audio files. A rehearsal is scheduled in central London a few weeks before the course to give participants the opportunity to meet one another and sing some of the music.
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 individual voice sessions. Afternoon excursions usually depart at around 3pm and return in time for dinner, with the exception of the excursion to Santiago de Compostela which will return at around 10pm.
On the penultimate evening there is an al fresco dinner with informal performances by participants (optional!) and our final concert is held in a local venue on the last evening.
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.
- Afternoon and evening to discover the iconic UNESCO World Heritage city of Santiago de Compostela
- Opportunity to explore the historic thermal spa city of Ourense, “La Cuidad De Agua”, one of Galicia’s best-kept secrets
- Tour and tasting at the Regina Viarum winery, perched on the edge of the spectacular Canyon de Sil in the Ribeira Sacra
All of the above excursions are included in the price of the course.
Bodega Regina Viarum, in the Canyon de Sil
The Paradors of Spain offer outstanding standards of accommodation, and the Parador de Monforte de Lemos is no exception. Formerly a medieval Benedictine monastery, the hotel is renowned for its combination of luxury and beautifully preserved history and culture.
Located on top of a hill with commanding views, the Parador is within walking distance of the centre of Monforte de Lemos and its amenities.
Accommodation 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. A limited number of single occupancy rooms (double or twin ensuite) are available for a supplement of £350; if you wish to reserve one, please check with us before booking.
All meals (except evening meal in Santiago de Compostela) will be prepared by the hotel’s excellent chefs and will comprise an extensive buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, and three-course evening meal. The Parador’s restaurant is renowned for its gourmet cuisine and delicious local specialities.
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 £1395 and includes everything except your return flight to Spain.
- Seven nights full-board ensuite accommodation
- All meals (except evening meal in Santiago de Compostela)
- Excursions and activities
- Transfer from Santiago de Compostela airport and local transportation (for organised excursions)
- Tuition and all other course costs
- Individual singing tutorial
Participants are required to book their own travel to Santiago de Compostela airport, where a coach will collect the group. Due to the limited flight options available, we are recommending the Easyjet flight EZY8589 from Gatwick departing at 06:35am.
OUTBOUND: Saturday 22 August
LGW-SCQ: Easyjet flight EZY8589 dep 06:35 arr 09:45
The coach will set off for Monforte de Lemos at approximately 10:30am when passengers on this flight have cleared.
If this flight is too early for you to reach Gatwick in time, we recommend staying in Gatwick overnight or taking the following flight from Stansted the evening before and staying in Santiago:
Friday 21 August: STN-SCQ: Ryanair flight FR8378 dep 12:00 arr 15:10
RETURN: Saturday 29 August
The coach will arrive at Santiago airport at 08:45am approx.
SCQ-LGW: Easyjet flight EZY8590 dep 10:15 arr 11:10
If you would prefer to use an alternative route, Monforte de Lemos can be reached via train from Santiago (changing in Ourense) or from many other destinations in Spain (see www.renfe.com). It is around 4.5 hours’ drive from the ferry at Santander.
If you wish to bring your own car, parking is available on site. Please let us know in advance and we will supply directions.
To reserve your place, please complete the online booking form and send your deposit to us (£275 per person) within seven days. Your booking confirmation will follow. The balance is required eight weeks before the start of the course.
More information on the booking process, along with payment details, is available here.
Neil Ferris studied at Royal Holloway, University of London, and at the Royal College of Music. He is co-artistic director and conductor of Sonoro, and music director of Wimbledon Choral Society, one of London’s leading amateur choirs. Read more...
Joanna Tomlinson is the Director of Constanza Chorus and Chamber Choir, the internationally renowned Farnham Youth Choirs and the University of Reading Chamber Choir and Chorus and Associate Director of East London Chorus. Read more...
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“…one of the best experiences I can remember”
“The concert was a wonderful experience. It was also great to meet so many interesting people and make some good friends”
“I cannot fault the organisation!”