A NATIONALLY-renowned South Lakeland girls’ choir received slow hand claps and standing ovations on a concert tour of Germany.

The Amabile Choir has returned from a visit to Kendal’s twin town of Rinteln in the Lower Saxony region of the country.

Singing in the Jakobi Church proved to be one of the many highlights of the tour with every seat taken.

The choir received the traditional German ‘slow handclap,’ which is regarded as a greater accolade even than a standing ovation, at the conclusion of the concert.


The first four nights were spent in the mediaeval town of Halberstadt, formerly part of the Eastern bloc, but now mostly restored. The first concert was given as part of the Shierke Summer Festival, in the Bergkirche, where the audience gave the girls their first standing ovation.

With a repertoire of more than 40 songs to learn from memory, including some in French, German and Japanese, the choir has worked extremely hard under the inspirational leadership of its director, Rachel Little, together with assistant director, Hannah Fleming, and David Lawrence. When a piano was not available, part of the luggage included an electric keyboard and its essential components for the accompanist, David Battersby.

In all the girls performed four full length concerts and managed their own advertising by busking in the market places wherever they went. In Halberstadt Cathedral, the girls participated in the service, ending with a short recital and receiving another standing ovation from the Lutheran congregation.

“The hospitality shown everywhere to the girls was tremendous with wonderful buffets and comfortable hotels,” said Sue Osmaston, a member of the Amabile music staff.

“Taking 41 teenage girls abroad was never going to be easy, but a brand new luxury coach, two friendly and very helpful coach drivers and a wonderful tour guide all helped to make the tour one of the best.

“For many of the girls it was their first foreign tour and the bonds between the girls have been totally reinforced during the last week.”