Meeting with the Handel Consort and Quire in Auckland, New Zealand – March 2020

Judy and Dexter visiting Mission Bay

On a recent visit to New Zealand, Judy from Sound Escapes went to meet the Auckland-based Handel Consort and Quire in order to chat about their 2021 touring plans.

The group are passionate about Handel’s music and founder Robert Howell is always keen to showcase the composer’s lesser known works. HQ for the group is the lovely Pitt Street Methodist Church, a fusion of local volcanic stone and imported Welsh slate and one of the oldest buildings in the city.

Pitt Street Methodist Church

After an introduction from Robert, Judy gave a short presentation about their planned tour to the UK and Italy followed by a Q&A session.

There was plenty of enthusiasm for a 2021 tour, with performances planned in big names such as St Paul’s Cathedral, St Peters in the Vatican and St Mark’s in Venice, as well as a host of lesser known but equally exciting venues like the St George’s Church in Hannover Square London, where Handel worshipped.

Many members have travelled to Europe and the UK in the past and intended to combine the trip with a pre or post tour visit to relatives, but there were a few first timers who were relieved to hear that they would have a tour manager on board!

Then for the choir it was home for dinner, and for Judy and Dexter, time to further explore the wonderful scenery and wildlife of this friendly country.


Jo and her team came up with a fantastic itinerary for our choir and planned everything to the last detail. We always felt we were in safe hands and that they were on the end of a phone to help us with anything we needed. We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
Rosie SayersChairperson for Sing It Loud Community Choir
Brilliant tour, expertly organised. Kindness and compassion. Nothing was too much trouble. Colin, our driver, was a complete gem and so knowledgeable about the isle. Lovely hotel staff where nothing was too much trouble
Felicity CourageChoir Director, Courage Choir
Sound Escapes did a fantastic job on arrangements for our tour . Would thoroughly recommend Jo to any choir looking to travel . All feedback has been positive from everyone who travelled . The extra care at meeting us at the coach and check in to ensure things ran smoothly went above and beyond .
Don OakleyMalmesbury ChoirOxford 2023
You’ve been patient and kind all the way through this, Jo – especially with it being the first international tour I’ve done, and with all the unforeseen changes to the travel arrangements, so thank you to you and the team.
Sarah MonteithChoir DirectorResound ChoirParis 2023
One of the best tours we have ever undertaken – musically, socially and geographically. Would heartily recommend Sound Escapes to any group considering a tour.
Carole Lindsay-DouglasAmici SingersWeston-Super-Mare 2023
From cathedrals and abbeys, churches and stately homes, all steeped in centuries of history, some in Roman Towns others in quintessential English ‘picture postcard’ villages, every choir and musical ensemble should spend a tour exploring the United Kingdom and Ireland. Whatever part of the country you to choose to visit, by working with a knowledgeable team of people who know the regions inside out from both a tourism and musical perspective, you will be guaranteed the richest of touring experiences
Tim KnightBritish composer and Choral Director

In May 2020 we were due to tour the Stirling area in Scotland and due to the current coronavirus pandemic we took the difficult decision to call off the tour. I’d like to give our thanks and praise to Jo and her team for all the planning and preparation she had done to put the itinerary together – she was able to provide us with an excellent range of stunning concert venues, plus some great suggestions for our leisure time, and we look forward to working with her again soon.

Sally ColesSecretary, Cantamici
Fantastic tour in Bonnie Scotland, enjoyed by all who went, singing and non-singing. Brilliant organisation from Jo who really made it all look so easy.
Kate HymansTour organiser for Masterworks Chorale
Care and attention to detail of the highest degree. The planning with Jo Porter was detailed and meticulous, with nothing being missed, and although she was not involved in the accommodation arrangements, she nevertheless checked it out and acted as an intermediary.
Robin SpencerChoir Secretary, Phoenix Choir
As a Chorister, and eventually Head Chorister in our local church choir for eleven years, Jo was talented, dedicated and could always be relied on to work to the utmost of her undoubted abilities. I would expect that she would apply the same attributes to her professional life
P BuckmasterChoral Director