Frequently Asked Questions
Check out some of the most common questions we get asked below. If you can't find the information you're looking for, please don't hesitate to contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Where do I stay?
We are incredibly lucky and have managed to secure a set of apartments 1 minute away from our main rehearsal venue, ST Mark's. More information can be found, on our accommodation tab. It is up to you to book this accommodation as an extra when you purchase your ticket as a singer. Alternatively, at FISP, we understand participants on the course may want to stay elsewhere, for financial reasons or because people may already have contacts and so accommodation in Florence. With this in mind, you can book your own accommodation separately, and pay to be a participant on the course- this still enables you the great benefits such as evening meals, a tour of Florence and all the social activities.
If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll help you however we can.
Why isn't accommodation included in the price?
At FISP we believe in keeping costs affordable. Most other courses have one fee for an all-inclusive week. We understand that everyone's circumstances are different and want people to feel able to come and stay on their own, as a couple or in a bigger group - whatever's right for you! Our accommodation venue is a 14th-century palazzo, and instead of charging per person as other courses do, we believe that as people may come with partners or friends they can then split the cost of the room, so instead of a fee 500 pounds each, this is split between two people.
If you are struggling to find accommodation, please do get in touch; we're very friendly and would like to help however we can.
How do I get there?
As we anticipate people coming from around Europe, travel is not included in the course fee. The nearest international airports are Florence, Pisa and Bologna. We recommend flying to Bologna and catching the train to Florence (30 mins). This is the easiest and most cost-effective way of travelling and can sometimes save as much as 70 pounds. However, some may wish to spend Tuesday morning sightseeing before attending the welcome drinks in the evening. Google flights estimate that an average return flight (London- Bologna) in August is between £64 - £150. The train is roughly 30€, and it is quite often easier than flying direct to Florence!
Some people may wish to visit other parts of Italy whilst on FISP. Florence is well-connected and has regular rail routes to all the main cities. If you are thinking of doing this, please get in touch as we have links across Italy who can help and advise you. If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch, and we will help you out as best we can.
How much does it cost?
The course fee is £500 (£430 early bird offer if booked before 25/05/2020). The easiest way to pay this is by using our secure site. For other methods of payment or an option to pay by installments, please email email@example.com.
Non-singers are welcome to join us; please get in touch regarding the price of this (which includes only the social activities and tours). All students are entitled to the reduced student bursary rate and are warmly encouraged to apply.
Included in the course fee:
Three evening meals
Official editions of the music covered (valued at £50) – this can be kept afterwards
Two drinks receptions
Refreshments during the break
A tour of Florence
Accommodation (you can book this separately through our partners)
Health insurance (we strongly advise participants to arrange their own before travelling)
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What sort of singer is the course aimed at?
Participants should have good sight-reading ability and are advised to prepare the music beforehand. However, nobody is expected to be note-perfect on the first day. Participants with less sight-reading ability are encouraged to study the score beforehand and listen to the music on Spotify.
We will post all music to you four weeks in advance, and for those wishing to make a head start, we can arrange to get these out to you sooner. The repertoire list is also available on our web site.
We foster a friendly environment and encourage anyone to apply and come along.
What is Choral Evensong?
Choral Evensong is a peaceful service, lasting about 45 minutes, in which the 'song' of voices sounding together in harmony is heard at the 'even' point between the active day and restful night, allowing listeners time for restful contemplation for church members, agnostics and atheists alike. It is both free of charge and free of religious commitment, and its 470-year-old choral music tradition - established around 1549 - is performed live.
There is something wonderful about the sound of choral music within the stone-walled acoustics of cathedrals, churches and chapels. It allows space to contemplate and for those who wrestle with the complexities of the truth of theological arguments, Evensong does not demand belief or any kind of affiliation to the Church. Indeed, atheist Richard Dawkins has been quoted as saying "I have a certain love for Evensong". The service allows an individual to engage with it in his or her own way.
We will be singing Evensong on Sunday at St Mark's which will conclude our course, followed by farewell drinks and canapes.
What makes Choral Evensong so unique?
As an English language service, Evensong dates back to the time of the Reformation, using elements of the old monastic offices of Vespers and Compline. The liturgy (a fixed set of words and ceremonial features) that the Church uses to this day was laid out in Archbishop Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer, the first version of which appeared in 1549. The music took shape a few decades later, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, with great composers like William Byrd and Thomas Tallis developing exquisite polyphonic choral music specifically for this new service. In each subsequent generation, modern composers have continued to add to the repertoire of Evensong. This has inspired a unique 500-year-old unbroken tradition of choir school foundations across Britain and Ireland that has been responsible for the very high standard of choral singing maintained to this day. It is unique to England and a crucial feature to the English Renaissance choral tradition.
Cranmer created the liturgy of Evensong with the general public in mind. The people of his day were not well-versed in Scripture; the public services were in Latin, and they were too elaborate for simple people to follow. This reflected the music at Choral evensong and English services during the reformation.