On 25th April 2019, St Albans Chamber Choir and the Wormser Kantorei from St Albans’ twin town of Worms in southern Germany celebrated fifty years of joint biennial concerts with a Golden Jubilee concert in St Albans Abbey, at the end of another wonderful week of singing and socialising with old and new friends.
The proud half-century of friendship and music-making started with a town-twinning visit to Worms by the Chamber Choir in 1969, and since then there has been an uninterrupted series of visits, making music and enjoying one another’s company.
The partnership enables the two choirs to perform larger-scale works than would normally be the case in our respective cities, and over the years we have become two of the few amateur choirs to be able to follow musical direction in two languages.
Among the most memorable concerts the joint choirs have given over the years was the performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in 1985. The work was originally written for the bombed and rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, and in 1985 was performed in the bombed and rebuilt Dreifaltigkeitskirche in Worms, with the choirs led by the two conductors whose own personal friendship did so much to establish and nurture the link, Tobias Ihle and Richard Stangroom.
There have been many fine musical occasions since then, notably our two performances, in St Albans and in Worms, of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony. We expect even more in the future, as we continue to forge ahead under our current directors, John Gibbons and Stefan Merkelbach.
The town-twinning between Worms and St Albans was launched in 1957 and its motto is Ad multos annos; the Chamber Choir and the Kantorei look forward to many more years of music-making and fellowship.
Photograph: SACC and Wormser Kantorei performing in the Dreifaltigkeitskirche in Worms in April 2017