Bermuda Sings Out Loud
An abundance of churches makes the island a haven for choirs.
Island lore holds that Bermuda has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in the world. True or not, the island is awash in holy structures, all of which are home to devout congregations and some of the most joyful choir music in the Atlantic. Step into one and you’ll be embraced by islanders dressed in their Sunday best, all of whom have come for the same reason: To greet their neighbors and to be thankful for their God above. This, of course, means singing and singing loudly, no matter their denomination.
“Island lore holds that Bermuda has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in the world.”
“Bermuda has such a large Christian community,” says Terry Henry, music director for Southampton’s Mount Zion AME Church and conductor of its celebrated Male Voice Choir. “It’s just one of the reasons why Bermuda is such a unique place to visit.” In addition to singing traditional gospel hymns every fourth Sunday at Mount Zion Church, the Male Voice Choir also performs a series of outdoor concerts every Thursday evening in July, when locals and visitors alike can listen at the clock tower in the Royal Naval Dockyard; at the rubber tree near Warwick Parish post office; at Albuoys Point in the City of Hamilton; and at King’s Square in St. Georges.
Another popular choir is a children’s group called Their Majesties Choristers, which performs the last Sunday of every month at St. Peter’s Church in St. Georges, a UNESCO World Heritage site with labyrinth cobblestone alleyways and well-preserved British colonial architecture. “It’s an honor to perform at St. Peters,” says Choristers choirmaster Martin Pastor. “It’s like stepping back 400 years in time.” With exposed cedar beams and flickering candelabras the church is the oldest Anglican house of worship in continuous use in the western hemisphere—indeed, a perfect home for the boys and girls choir, which is modeled after the choristers who perform for the British Royal Family right down to their ankle length red choir robes and joyful juvenile voices.