Members of the Handel Society have toured extensively in North America and Europe. Participation is voluntary, and family members are welcome to come along.
In 1989, the chorus performed Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms at the Toronto International Choral Festival. Then in December 1991, the Handel Society was invited by Skitch Henderson, Music Director of the New York Pops Orchestra, to be the featured chorus in the annual holiday concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Following the New York performance, a Handel Society member with contacts in Austria and Germany proposed a concert tour to those European countries. When the idea was enthusiastically accepted by the chorus, this member volunteered to arrange the entire tour himself. One tour eventually became three self-arranged tours: 1999, 2001, and 2006. These tours, all in December (after the end of Dartmouth’s Fall term), included performances in concert halls and cathedrals as well as small country churches. There was even time for some skiing in Ladis, Austria.
The third European tour in 2006 inaugurated the group’s Bicentennial Celebration, marking the 200th anniversary of its founding in 1807. The Handel Society added Switzerland and Italy to its itinerary. Venues included the United Nations Catholic Chapel in Vienna, a joint performance with choirs from Austria and Hungary in Oberndorf, Sunday Mass in the Salzburg Cathedral, and concerts in Verona and Florence, Italy.
The Handel Society returned to Europe in 2009 to mark the 250th anniversary of its namesake’s death. The itinerary—arranged by World Cultural Tours, Inc.—focused on cities where Handel lived and worked. After a concert at Great St. Mary’s Church in Cambridge, England, the chorus performed at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. In Paris there were performances at La Madeleine and the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde. The highlight of the Paris visit was singing Sunday Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. The tour concluded in Halle, Germany, Handel’s birthplace.
The Handel Society toured again in December 2012, this time to southern Italy. The tour began with a concert in Naples, followed by another in Sorrento, interspersed with a visit to Pompeii and the volcano of Mt. Vesuvius, together with the very scenic Amalfi coast. It has become our custom to sing in smaller towns and villages, and we gave a concert in a town on the outskirts of Rome before completing our tour in Rome. We saw the sights and sounds of Rome over the next five days, and gave three more concerts, the highlight being singing Sunday Mass at St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.