The Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Patrick, stands on the hill from which the city derives its name – Armagh

The Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble UK Tour 2018!

The Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble of the Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy, now celebrating it’s 34th year, has had the honour of representing the nation at several festivals and competitions abroad over the last decade. This 2018 tour to the United Kingdom marked the Choir’s seventh tour abroad and it’s first to the UK.

This year, the SGCE had been invited by ‘Toccata’, an Internationally acclaimed music production house who have also been hailed as the Cultural Ambassadors of Ireland for a cultural collaborative exchange between both countries for a stage performance. The Stop-Gaps thus embarked on a goodwill concert tour of London and Northern Ireland, besides taking part in the Laura Kerr Musical ‘Forgiven’ based on the life of the apostle Simon Peter. Directed by the award winning Wilfie Pyper and Conducted by Colin Scot, it was a great experience which brought much admiration and applause, giving this part of the world a look at what an Indian choir can do.

Forty four singers represented the Stop-Gaps at this immensely successful tour. Comprising highly placed professionals, teachers, school and college students, as well as people in service and retirees, with an age span of 16 to 70 years and over, belonging to different faiths and communities from various regions in India, the Stop-Gaps and Alfred J D’Souza, along with Mimosa Pinto, our esteemed accompanist proudly bowled over the British and Irish audiences, this summer of 2018!

Barholm, Portaferry – Home to the Stop-Gaps for the entire Ireland trip

May 20, 2018: Sacred Heart Church, London

The Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble and Alfred J D’souza have been associated with the Salesians of Mumbai  for nearly 40 years. The invitation to sing at Sacred Heart Church London for both Mass as well as for a special concert performance was warmly welcomed by both the Choir and the local community. The Choir sang in support of Don Bosco Breads, Bangalore – the Bangalore Rural Educational And Development Society.

Fr. Gerry had a small note to share with us:

Greetings from the Sacred Heart Parish in Battersea, south London. We were honoured to host the Stop-Gaps Choir on their trip to the UK. They came to join us for Pentecost Sunday liturgy and led the congregational singing in our multi-cultural Parish-we have families from 49 nations contributing to the life and energy of the Parish. Everyone agreed that Stop-Gaps brought a beauty to our liturgy and it was appropriate that singers from Mumbai should head us in worship on this most holy of days-thank you!

Benedictus, London born and bred but with roots in Ghana, organised a wonderful brunch for the choir and parishioners. Various dishes from across all continents were represented and we had a good social gathering. We thank parishioners for their generosity and everyone seemed to have enough-a real feeding of 5000! 

At 3.00pm the Church filled again for a charity concert which was simply sublime and took us all to another level for Pentecost. Parishioners, locals, visitors and friends of the Choir from across London joined us for an afternoon of wonderful choral singing in an amazing variety of choral styles.  People are STILL talking about it as we move into our summer here. The quality of singing, movement and dance  was something we very much loved. In the event over £800 was raised for DON BOSCO BREADS, our adopted charity in Bangalore. Thank you Stop-Gaps for your care and concern for those less fortunate. FR Andrew Sdb, a teacher in our Parish high school of St John Bosco will  leading a party of volunteers later in the year to Bangalore

We look forward to a return visit or, perhaps, we could visit Mumbai and hear you on home turf.

Thank you for uniting our world through the gift of music and peace on Penticost Sunday 2018.

May 23, 2018: Armagh, Northern Ireland

May 25, 2018: Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, Belfast, Ireland

Laura Kerr’s musical ‘Forgiven’ based on the life of St. Peter featured some of the best known music and hymns of all time! The Stop-Gaps in association with Toccata performed to a massive audience at this fantastic production.

May 26, 2018: Clonard Monastery, Belfast

Clonard Church, the Church of the most Most Holy Redeemer stands strong at more than a hundred years old! Designed in early French Gothic style, the church is beautiful beyond articulation. Here the Stop-Gaps were invited to perform at a special concert televised to audiences all over the world!

May 27, 2018: NewCastle, Downs Road, Northern Ireland

Our Lady of Assumption Church is reputed to be the first circular church in Ireland designed to the sixties architecture. The Choir was overwhelmed with a warm welcome by Fr. Colin and the church community. Our last and most momentous performance in Ireland, where the community sang for the Choir creating a memory that will stay etched forever…

And on a separate note!