The Anglican Chorale of Ottawa (ACO) is an unusual Canadian Church choir in that we have no church building to call our own, and we have actually sung more services in the UK than in Canada. There are about 30 members of the choir, ranging in age from 18 to 80.
Every other year we travel overseas for two weeks. For the first 4-5 nights we usually stay in a private school in a rural area where we rehearse intensely, and sing at a local church or cathedral. Then we move to a “touristy” location where there is more time to spend seeing the local sites (e.g. 2008 – Cambridge). The second week we are the "choir-in-residence" at one of the UK Cathedrals. The Chorale sings the daily services while the usual Cathedral choir vacations, thereby allowing a centuries-old Choral tradition to continue uninterrupted.
Every trip has a “Mystery Tour” where we go on a surprise expedition for the day. In 2010 our “Mystery Tour” included a falconry, a seaside town, and a tour of the Aberlour distillery. The trip always includes unique experiences that an average tourist would not have. For example, in 2006 after Canterbury Cathedral closed for the evening we sang alone in the Quire, by candelight. In 2006 the Chorale sang Remembrance ceremonies at the Canadian Vimy Memorial in France, and at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.
When we are not travelling, the choir rehearses infrequently in Ottawa, and sings approximately three evening services a year at various parishes in the Ottawa region, some of which would not otherwise be able to celebrate Choral Evensong.