Augustiner-Kantorei Erfurt Tour

The Augustinian Church Choir are visiting Yorkshire in mid-October for a week’s tour to mark over twenty years of the partnership between the Diocese of Bradford, and then the Diocese of Leeds with the Erfurt Kirchenkreis.

The tour will include visits to churches and cathedrals across the county including the Diocesan cathedrals of Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon, alongside Leeds Minster, Halifax Minster and St. Margaret’s Church in Ilkley. There will also be stops to visit York Minster and Ilkley Moor as part of the nine-day visit.

This blog was updated each day as the choir toured. You can read more about the tour on the choir’s own blog at

Tour Dates

Saturday 12th October: Howden Minster
Sunday 13th October: Bradford Cathedral, 10:15am Eucharist service
Monday 14th October: Bolton Priory & Meeting the Lord Mayor
Tuesday 15th October: Wakefield Cathedral, lunchtime concert, 1pm
Wednesday 16th October: Bradford Cathedral, Wednesday@One Organ Recital, 1pm
Thursday 17th October: Ripon Cathedral, lunchtime concert, 1pm
Friday 18th October: Leeds Minster, midday concert, 12:30pm
Saturday 19th October: St. Margaret’s Church, Ilkley; evening concert, 7:30pm
Sunday 20th October: Halifax Minster, morning service, 10am

Rosalind Beeson, Chair of the Leeds/Erfurt Diocesan Link sub-group, said:
“It was wonderful to welcome our partners from the Erfurt Kirchenkreis as the 30th anniversary of the link between Bradford, now Leeds, and Erfurt approaches, and particularly as we face whatever challenges Brexit may bring. We remain strongly bound to our partners through our common faith and friendship through music making and sharing our landscapes, history and culture. The Augustinerkantorei led by their dynamic Director of Music Dietrich Ehrenwerth sang superbly at church services and concerts in cathedrals and minsters across Yorkshire, attracting large appreciative audiences and a healthy financial outcome for the link. Many bonds were strengthened and new ones formed, and the tour has generated interest in several further exchanges between clergy, lay groups, choirs and musicians over the next few years. As Bishop Nick said during the tour, our Leeds-Erfurt link is important and we hope it will be strengthened and continue in the years to come.”

Sunday 20th October
Halifax Minster

Ros Beeson:
The choir came to Halifax Minster to sing the Eucharist setting in a very welcoming bilingual atmosphere hosted by the Vicar, the Revd Canon Hilary Barber, and led by Bishop Jonathan Gibbs, the Bishop of Huddersfield and British co-Chair of the Meissen Commission set up  to establish Anglo-German church partnerships. His sermon preached hope and reconciliation through present action, prayer and proclamation of the Gospel. The choir then had a visit to the Piece Hall before leaving for their flights home.

Saturday 19th October

Ros Beeson:
The choir came to Ilkley for the day, for a walk on Ilkley Moor led by German-speaking expert moor walkers from All Saints and St Margaret’s churches, going to the Apostle Stones and back. After lunch in three downtown restaurants they explored the town then came to St Margaret’s church to give the last concert of the tour to a packed audience. The quality of the singing was much admired, as was the confident organ accompaniment by Bradford Cathedral’s Director of Music Alex Berry. It was an emotional evening with the Brexit developments in Parliament bringing forth mutual assurances of hope and enduring friendship through the Erfurt-Leeds link, come what may, and the audience gave the choir a standing ovation. The end of the concert tour was celebrated with a party with traditional Yorkshire food and drink, and a superb rendition by 150 people of ‘On Ilkley Moor baht ‘At’ in both Yorkshire and German, expertly translated by Andrea Rayner of the Diocesan link working group.

Friday 18th October
Leeds Minster

Photo from

Leeds Minster’s Department of Music was honoured to welcome the Augustinerkantorei for a concert to celebrate the connection between them and the Diocese of Leeds.

We were also delighted to welcome the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, to the Minster. He and Sam Corley, the Rector of Leeds, welcomed the choir on behalf of the Diocese.

Ros Beeson:
The choir gave their lunchtime concert in the glorious setting of Leeds Minster, where they were welcomed by Bishop Nick Baines, who spoke highly of the value of the Diocesan link between Leeds and Erfurt, vowing to keep the friendship going in the coming years whatever the effects of Brexit.

The choir varied the repertoire with a piece by Saint Saens and more pieces by Rinck. The afternoon was free with some exploring Leeds, others returning to York for a longer visit, and a large group visiting the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth.

Thursday 17th October
Ripon Cathedral, Ripon and York

day saw the choir perform in Ripon Cathedral after a drive through North Yorkshire in lovely sunshine. The programme included Flor Peeters’ Te Deum as well as staple favourites. The large audience included Year 5 pupils from the local Church of England primary school. They were very well behaved and enjoyed the experience.

The choir were very taken with the fine city of Ripon, but were soon whisked off to York for a superb guided tour of the Minster, Evensong, and a free evening to explore York.

Wednesday 16th October
Bradford Cathedral Organ Recital

Over 120 people came along to hear the choir perform a range of pieces, accompanied by Alex Berry, Bradford Cathedral Director of Music, on the organ, as part of a very special edition of the cathedral’s weekly ‘Wednesday@One’ organ recitals.

Ros Beeson:
Today was Bradford Cathedral’s turn to host the lunchtime concert, and a large audience enjoyed piece by Bruckner, Mendelssohn, Bach, and Rutter in a convivial atmosphere. The choir then visited Salts Mill in Saltaire to explore the work of local artist David Hockney. In the evening they had a fine curry dinner at Omar Khan’s restaurant in Bradford.

Tuesday 15th October
Wakefield Cathedral

Ros Beeson:
Today the choir gave their first lunchtime concert in West Yorkshire, in Wakefield Cathedral. The programme followed the progress of an Anglican Communion service, with pieces by Mendelssohn, Bach, and Rinck, and was much appreciated by the audience. Then the choir visited the famous Oldroyd’s forced rhubarb farm for a talk on the medicinal and culinary uses of rhubarb and an exploration of the forced rhubarb industry.

They returned to Bradford Cathedral for Evensong and a reception given by the Dean and Chapter to reciprocate for the hospitality received by the Bradford Cathedral Choir during their visit to Erfurt in May.

Monday 14th October
Bolton Priory & Meeting the Lord Mayor

Ros Beeson:
There were no formal choral engagements but plenty of singing anyway. Glorious autumn sunshine welcomed the choir to Bolton Priory church, a lovely welcome from Rector Nicholas Mercer and a local guide. The choir was interested to hear about the demolition of the former Augustinian monastery during the English reformation, use of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, breadth of doctrinal interpretation in the Church of England and the freedom to worship according to taste and feeling. The choir sang a beautiful piece in the Priory and was impressed by the superb flower arrangements. They went for walks up and down the river Wharfe.

Video by Canon Paul Maybury

Then it was back to Bradford for a thoughtful and stimulating meeting with Bishop Toby touching on intercultural society where all faiths and none engage with each other, Brexit, and practising Christianity from the heart. Finally a superb reception given by the Lord Mayor at Bradford City Hall, visiting the banqueting hall and Council chamber, exploring local British democracy and Brexit. The choir sang two pieces including Martin Luther’s ‘Ein feste Burg ist Unser Gott’, a most appropriate offering, and official gifts were exchanged.

Sunday 13th October:
A Tour of Places of Worship

Ros Beeson:
First up was lunch in Bradford Cathedral, where there was the chance to meet local people and make friends, and relax after a superb musical début in West Yorkshire. There was then a walk through Little Germany, stopping to admire the Victorian merchants’ buildings and a David Hockney portrait mural, before a warm welcome at the Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara, removing shoes, donning headscarves and hearing about the basic principles and practices of the Sikh religion.

Eating together for friendship and bonding is an essential part, so we tucked into rotis and dhal. We had to tell the Masjid (Muslim prayer house) we’d be late, but got there to a fabulous welcome from many of the local worshippers eager to meet the German party with whom they felt a bond as both German and Pakistani textile and wool merchants and worker had settled in Bradford a century apart.

A Masjid singer beautifully sang a chapter from the Quran about Mary mother of Jesus, and the Imam gave a brief history of the growth of the Masjid from 20 worshippers to 1,800 today. The importance of living and working peacefully and happily with neighbours of many other faiths and none was stressed. We toured the Masjid and had a lavish buffet of exotic Asian foods. The choir then sang a setting of ‘Dona nobis pacem’ as a thank you.

Then on to the Hindu mandir to take part in a congregational exploration of prayerful yoga, with Hindu singing and a reciprocal rendition of ‘Dona nobis pacem’, very appropriate in any faith, followed by a Hindu vegetarian meal. Plenty of walking up and down Leeds road really gave the choir a taste of Bradford and its  multicultural diversity, friendship and welcome.

Sunday 13th October:
Bradford Cathedral

The choir sang several pieces during the Sunday morning Eucharist service at Bradford Cathedral, with a selection of photos available at the top.

Saturday 12th October:
Howden Minster

The choir’s first concert in Howden Minster on the day of their arrival. It went off very well, and they were impressed with the beautiful church.

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