According to witnesses, singer David Barclay made reference to gas chambers and the Nazi party while he and the choir rehearsed A Foreign Field by Torsten Rasch – a piece specially commissioned for the festival.
The incident is said to have taken place after some members of the German choir reportedly criticised their English colleagues’ ability to sing in German. One witness told The Daily Telegraph, that David Barclay reacted to the Germans’ complaints by “talking of ‘removing their clothes and showering with them'”. Barclay is said to have “mocked them by pretending to be Hitler. He was making a point about them not to be too critical of the English singers but it got out of hand”.
Barclay has been dismissed from the festival. The Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester, said: “A member of the Three Choirs Festival chorus was dismissed from the festival after highly offensive remarks were reported.”
Barclay himself has also issued an apology, but will still face disciplinary action. In his statement, he said: “I’m very sorry for any offence I caused during the Three Choirs Festival. I completely understand why what happened was inappropriate.”