Angels and Devils, July 2023


A birds-eye view of Ely Cathedral capturing a full choir and orchestra from above.

© Frances Marshall

In 2023 we launched our summer project, entitled ‘Angels and Devils’, which centred on Elgar’s magnificent oratorio The Dream of Gerontius. This included an amazing line-up of world-class soloists: Nicky Spence sang the titular role of Gerontius, Anna Stéphany sang the Angel and Andrew Foster Williams sang the Priest and Angel of Agony. The 6-day residential course culminated in a performance with Gabrieli’s renowned orchestra in Ely Cathedral on 26th July 2023, and also included singers from the Polish National Youth Choir in Roar’s first international collaboration.

Following excellent feedback from the 2022 Elijah residential course, this year’s course was one day longer, and we expanded the range of activity on offer. As well as tackling The Dream of Gerontius, we also concentrated on few a cappella pieces, in various musical styles, to introduce our young singers to a wider range of choral music.

Our Roar Chorus Directors, Charles MacDougall and Emily Dickens, led the course alongside our Artistic Director, Paul McCreesh, and an expanded group of Gabrieli singers and coaches – a Roar Vocal Faculty – wa on hand throughout the course.

This course, just like our other residential courses, was designed for young people aged 14-18 years, although younger singers with some choral experience, especially when part of pre-formed choirs, were also welcome. The capacity to sing in parts with reasonable confidence is a requirement for Roar, but as always, we support singers to develop their skills rapidly, to enable them to perform challenging works in a short period of time. We do ask choir directors to prepare the choirs at least with some basic note familiarity before we meet, although with less-experienced choirs, we would be more than happy to support this process and can sometimes send coaches to your rehearsals in advance.

Angels and Devils Residential Course Details:
Dates: 21 July 2023 – 26 July 2023
Accommodation: New Hall School
Performance Venue: Ely Cathedral
Participants: 250 young singers from youth and school choirs around the country
Cost to participate: £250 per person with partial and full bursaries available to those in need of financial assistance


If you are interested in finding out more about our future projects, please get in touch with:

Anna Winstone                               Freya Parry
Director of Roar                             Roar Manager