15 Abbey and wondering who had walked through the cloisters before us.’ Singing at the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral was a highlight, where renowned English composer and conductor John Rutter had even stuck his head in to listen. Michael, who ended up leading eight international tours during his 17-year directorship at Trinity, cites the fact the choir was invited to return to many places as testament to the success of those initial performances. He notes the tour set new standards on home soil, too. ‘When you’re singing and rehearsing every day [on tour] it helps the team bond and improves the overall performance,’ he says. ‘If you knew you were going to be singing in St Thomas’s Church in Leipzig, where the great Johann Sebastian Bach was, you needed to lift your game, especially when singing some of his music. We were working at the highest level every day and it showed.’ Belinda recalls singing in the 100-metre-high Liverpool Cathedral in 1998 as a time that demanded such game lifting. ‘The expanse of the space meant we couldn’t hear the person next to us, so we needed to make sure our tuning was spot on,’ she says. ‘Michael encouraged us to trust our abilities and we did.’ Obviously, they nailed it, as a recording of the performance ended up on a CD. ‘It helped us realise the level we could perform at and I’d like to think the success of that first tour showed everyone why it’s important for our choristers to have such experiences,’ she adds. FINDING SUCCESS One student who benefited from the high standards upheld by Trinity’s choir is Siobhan Stagg, who was closely involved with the group for seven years. A country girl from Mildura, Siobhan has gone on to become an opera and concert singer based in Berlin, singing principal roles with major companies and symphony orchestras around the globe. She will soon make her US debut in the title role of Cinderella at Chicago’s Lyric Opera with Sir Andrew Davis conducting. ‘Before I joined Trinity’s choir I didn’t even have a passport,’ says Siobhan. ‘The choir provided me early performance opportunities and gave me my first recording experience with ABC Classics. My time with Trinity was a hugely important chapter in my musical and professional development.’ Above: The choir performs in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, in front of The Adoration of the Magi, by Peter Paul Rubens. Right: Director of Music, Christopher Watson. OF HEAVEN OF HEAVEN