La Nova Singers at Stourhead – Through the Years

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Earlier this month, we received the sad news that there will be no Stourhead Festival of the Voice 2015, due to the event having grown in popularity so much that the National Trust property is no longer able to support it. Martin Clements, Stourhead’s Visitor Experience Officer, writes as follows:

We are very grateful to all the choirs who made Festival of Voice so successful over the past twelve years. During this time it has transformed to accommodate growing numbers of choirs, performers and equipment. It is well loved, but has outgrown Stourhead’s capacity to offer suitable locations, services and support for choirs. As a result, we have regrettably decided not to host the event in 2015.

La Nova Singers have been lucky enough to participate in the event several times over the years – from 2009 until 2013. In addition, we gave two evening performances at Stourhead for the Marie Curie Walk Ten charity fundraising walk in 2011 and 2012. We have always enjoyed the chance to get out and about and explore the beautiful gardens, exercising our singing voices and our legs (you don’t realise how big that lake is until you’ve had to run around it, after taking a wrong turning on the way there and arriving 20 minutes late)! It’s also been fun to have the challenge of attracting and keeping an audience, picking thematically appropriate music (Bridge Over Troubled Water on a bridge! Ships of Arcady in the rain!) and simplifying our ‘act’ to its most portable form.

Many of us were sad that we weren’t able to participate in one of the singing days last September, so to hear that there won’t be an opportunity this year is a great disappointment. Nevertheless, we’re grateful for the huge amount of work Stourhead’s staff and volunteers have put in over the years to run this event, and for the great enjoyment – and fabulous photos – we’ve had from it. Not to mention the chance to meet and hear so many other fantastic choirs!

Above is a gallery of some of our favourite Stourhead moments, which you might like to enjoy whilst listening to this recording of La Nova Singers performing ‘Ships of Arcady’, by Michael Head, in the Pantheon at Stourhead.

More on Stourhead Festival of the Voice:

Stourhead Festival of the Voice 2013

Outside the Pantheon, Stourhead

The Pantheon at Stourhead is a fantastically beautiful place to perform, and the view across the lake is gorgeous – whatever the weather. This year’s Festival of the Voice unluckily coincided with storm warnings and threats of a deluge – but some amazingly optimistic souls were there to hear us, with the reward of a window in the weather as well as our singing!outside-pantheon

The circular, marble-lined temple interior was, however, a temptation – particularly to test out the acoustics, which were lovely (although it was a challenge to our bel canto technique to keep the volume low enough for a smallish, stone-lined space).


It was a bit like singing inside a piece of Wedgwood pottery…!

A curious rebound made it sound disconcertingly, to those of us second sopranos and altos, as if the first sopranos had swapped sides. Nevertheless it was very rewarding to sing the Saint Saens ‘Ave Maria’ in such a lovely setting.

– Today’s blog post is brought to you by our Treasurer and Second Soprano, Virginia.

Marie Curie Walk Ten at Stourhead Gardens

In early September, the singers made their way to Wiltshire to perform at a very special event: the Marie Curie ‘Walk Ten’ twilight walk. Hundreds of walkers were serenaded in distinctive La Nova style as they strolled past Stourhead Gardens’ famous lake, by way of a mystical hidden grotto. Later, as the sun was setting, the singers perfomed ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ as memory lanterns were lit and lights twinkled amongst the trees.

La Nova Singers are always on the look out for an interesting – if not wacky – place to sing!! Preferably one that has a decent mobile signal, so Mel can multi-task singing and organising her wedding…

Ascending to the summit of the grotto…

We must dance and we must sing, round about our fairy ring!

We’re not sure if the above photo shows us imitating a ring of dainty fairies… or a coven of crafty witches. Hail thou, Macbeth!

“Look! There’s a man with a camera!!”

As the sun sets over Stourhead, out come the fairy lights and glow-in-the-dark halos, and La Nova Singers strike a pose (… that unfortunately doesn’t show up very well on camera because of the aforementioned sunset)!

Stay tuned for video footage, filmed in the dark, where it appears as though we are being conducted by a phosphorescent Creature from the Black Lagoon…!


Stourhead Festival of the Voice is like Glastonbury, in that it’s called a festival and involves music. Apart from that it has nothing in common with Glastonbury, unless you count the ever-present threat of rain.

La Nova Singers have performed at Stourhead for the past few years, and it’s always been one of the most enjoyable events we get to do. The gardens are owned by the National Trust and are absolutely stunning – thoroughly recommended for a day out, even without the presence of choirs from across the region. This year we sang in the Spread Eagle Courtyard, the Saloon Steps outside the house, and at the Pantheon.

On September 1, we return to Stourhead to support a very worthy cause – Marie Curie Cancer Care. The Walk 10 event is a twilight 10k walk in aid of the well-known charity; entertainment is provided by La Nova Singers and other groups, and the walk ends with a picnic and fireworks by the gorgeous lake. Visit the Walk Ten website for more information and to sign up.