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.


In May 2020 we were due to tour the Stirling area in Scotland, in a series of concerts and church services organised by Sound Escapes. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic we took the difficult decision to call off the tour, and whilst all our members are extremely disappointed, we all understood that the cancellation was unavoidable in the circumstances.
However, 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 it’s such a shame that we are now unable to enjoy those experiences in 2020.
However, we hope very much that it will be possible for us and Jo to resurrect the tour and its plans, once the world returns to normal – and we look forward to working with her again soon.
Sally ColesSecretary, Cantamici
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
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
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
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