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From Devizes to Latvia

by Gerry Lynch last modified 24 Apr, 2018 04:34 PM

Choir at St John's Church holds concert to raise funds for summer tour of Baltic country with Salisbury link

A Devizes choir ranging in age from 8 to 80 has performed a concert in one of the Diocese’s oldest churches to raise money for their upcoming tour to Latvia.

The Choir of St John’s Church in Devizes put together a ‘superb’ performance which included works by Chilcott, Howells, Vaughan Williams and Rachmaninov. The event raised over £2,000 towards the cost of a summer tour to the Baltic country.

The Diocese has a long-standing relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latvia, traditionally the country’s national church. The link began at the end of the 1980s, under then Bishop of Ramsbury, the Rt Revd Peter Vaughan, as religious freedoms gradually began to be restored in the last year’s of the USSR.

Read more about the Salisbury-Latvia Link here

St John’s is an active supporter of this link, and received an invitation to tour Latvia this August. Their programme includes singing Choral Evensong at St John the Baptist Church in Cesis, one of the country’s largest medieval churches in what is considered by many to be its prettiest town, and giving a concert in Riga Cathedral.  

“We need to do some serious fundraising to make this trip become a reality” said St John’s Director of Music, Chris Totney.

“The total cost of the trip is estimated at £20,000 and the cost per person will be too large to expect families to be prepared to pay outright. The total amount raised through various channels has just reached £10,000 thanks to the generosity of so many people. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us since we started this venture back in October.” 

The choir have been doing various fundraising events including a hymnathon, a talent show, carol singing and a swimathon.

“We’ve done some concerts” said singer Amelia, aged 10. “We also packed shoppers’ bags in Morrisons whilst other members of the choir were singing.”

Esmé, aged 14 added, “We’re really looking forward to going to Latvia and hope to do some sightseeing.” 

You can donate towards the tour at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stjohnsdevizeslatviatour.

Story by Steve Connor.

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