Fresno Pacific University Concert Choir 2010 Concert Tour of Australia and New Zealand

Roy Klassen has been working with ACFEA’s Hugh Davies since 1987 and has become almost a member of the Davies family: he and his wife Paula have stayed on several occasions with Hugh’s aunt in St. Albans, England, the city where Hugh grew up and sang as a boy chorister in the cathedral. 

Roy has just retired from Fresno Pacific University in California’s Central Valley, and chose to mark this moment with a final tour: his fourth with ACFEA. It is always sad when an old friend like Roy retires, because we wonder to what extent we will keep in touch, but we look on it as a great honor when a conductor decides to give his or her final cut-off on one of our tours. We all send Roy and Paula our very best wishes for a long and peaceful life of leisure.

Fresno Pacific University Concert Choir rehearses in Sacred Heart Cathedral in Wellington, New Zealand for its joint concert with the Seraphim Choir of Chilton St. James School

All Roy’s previous ACFEA tours had been to Europe, but this one took him and 30 other participants to New Zealand and Australia. Between Auckland and Sydney they visited Rotorua, Napier and Wellington, gaining en route a good feel for the delightful North Island of New Zealand and for Australia’s most vibrant city. For the concerts in Auckland and Wellington the Fresno choir was joined by a local choir, creating wonderful opportunities for all the participants to get to know each other both musically  and personally. 

In Rotorua, home to New Zealand’s indigenous Maori culture, the group participated in a traditional hangi feast and listened to Maori music.At a hangi meal all meats and vegetables are cooked in the traditional fashion, beneath the ground on hot rocks, which produces wonderfully flavorful and tender results.

Although the group had a relatively leisurely four nights in Sydney, they certainly had plenty to do. In addition to the normal sightseeing, they crossed the harbor by ferry, visited a wildlife sanctuary to see kangaroos, koalas and wombats, gave a concert in St. Andrew’s Cathedral…and 11 of them climbed to the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

After saying farewell to the group at Sydney airport, Roy and Paula flew to Melbourne to see some more of Australia. They explored some of Victoria’s historic old cities then took a ferry across to Tasmania, Australia’s charming island state and home of the unique Tasmanian Devil: After a controlled encounter with one of these scary-looking creatures, Roy and Paula returned to their Fresno home, perhaps to a rocking chair, slippers, and a chance to write their memoirs – or perhaps not…

To learn more about Australia and New Zealand as possible concert tour destinations for your ensemble, please visit our Australia and New Zealand destination pages, or contact us.