04
May
13

Applause at St Paul’s

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It is disappointing that we were not allowed to take photos inside St Paul’s Cathedral. It is truely a remarkable building with outstanding acoustics.  It was a little frightening walking up the stairs this morning knowing that we were to sing there.

However, we did! We sang to a large and appreciative audience (well, they were just visiting the Cathedral, but heard as a bonus!) and it has been the highlight of the tour so far.  The Organ Scholar at the Cathedral, Richard, was most enthusiastic about our performance and particularly thought the Sam Donovan pieces we did were “brilliant”.

After singing and basking in the adoration of our fans (or the 7 people who actually were at the Cathedral to see us) we explored the Cathedral, it’s cafe in the Crypt and climbed the stairs to the various levels of the dome.

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Sue and I decided we would take a tour bus to see a little more of the city.  Our tour guide asked us about our St Paul’s stickers on our clothes and we mentioned that we had sung there at lunchtime.  He then talked over the mic about the famous choir members on the bus.  Each time he said something the story got bigger.  By the time we alighted from the bus, it was as though we were movie stars.  Very funny.

We have a VERY early start in the morning so we mostly we home and heading for bed early.

 

03
May
13

Choralling at Cambridge – a study in superlatives

Another day, another train and another concert.

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Today we sang a concert at St John’s Cambridge.  It is an absolutely stunning church, and a thrill to sing in.

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Cambridge itself was even more ancient and glorious and glorious than Oxford.  We met some people from Australia at the concert.

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Afterwards, we ate lunch at another fabulous pub, then walked around the shops and markets until evensong at King’s College Chapel. “Magnificent”, “Ethereal” and “Angelic” are just some words our choristers used to describe the service.  The singing and surrounds were all outstandingly beautiful. A few stayed for another evensong at St John’s College to hear Bach and some more “pure, powerful and poetic singing”.

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After three days straight of concerts, and two more to go we are all getting very weary, but getting settled in our singing.

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NB. I am sleeping in the lounge/dining room and knowing that I was very tired everyone came in and ate breakfast VERY quietly so I could have a sleep in.  Aren’t they lovely!

02
May
13

Raising the Curtain on Merton

I haven’t mentioned how wonderful the transport system is.  Even better when you have an app that tells you the quickest way to get somewhere or if there are any delays.  We have names this app The Oracle.  This morning it changed our route because there were delays on the line we were going to take. We made it to Paddington station on time!

The other great thing about public transport is the people you meet.  Helpful locals that point out what park you are passing, or chat about Welsh culture and language.  But the funniest person we have met whilst traveling was the trolley man on our trip to Wales.  Firstly, he came past offering tea, coffee and viper’s noses.  He then handed the lady next to me her cup of coffee and said “Thanks Mary” when she paid.  I thought she must have been a regular on the train for him to know her name.  Then we realised he called every lady Mary, and every man David.  Even when Ben corrected hm, telling him his name was Ben, he replied “Of course it is David”. Priceless.

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Two buses, the tube, and a taxi and we arrived at Oxford’s Merton College ready to sing in the Chapel.  Oxford really is spectacular.

We rehearsed for an hour or two, then performed for a small audience, however some tourists who came to see the Chapel stayed once they heard us singing.

Despite the fact that we are a group of 12, we have never shared a meal together.  We rectified this situation after our performance, sharing a superb lunch at the Beefeater Grill. I completed my meal with tea and scones. Yes, I’m in England.

After lunch and a little shopping some people travelled back home, whilst some stayed in Oxford for a service for the Life an Work of Benjamin Britten.

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01
May
13

A Day in London

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We bused into the city to rehearse then perform a lunchtime concert concert at St Katharine Cree – a beautiful little church right near the base of the Gherkin.  There we met with John Ewington, the retiring General Secretary of the Guild of Church Musicians and the reason we have been invited here.

Although we didn’t have a huge audience, they loved the concert with many people commenting on the variety of music, our skill and musicianship, but most of, the sound that 10 singers could produce.

Having such a small group has meant we all need to know are music REALLY well.  Congratulations to Chantelle who has only been in the choir for a month and has managed to learn music, words (in Mandarine as well!) and choralography in a very short time.

During the concert Callum made his London debut as an organ soloist, and Susan, Ben and Lachlan really shined as soloists in some of our pieces.

After the concert we went in various directions. Some home to rest, some to The Tower of London, whilst Philip and Callum went to The Royal College of Music where Philip studied.  And there, in the library’s for sale section was a Chamber Choir CD!

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30
Apr
13

Oops! Wrong picture!

Oops! Wrong picture!

30
Apr
13

A Madman in a Blue Box

Today we had no performances, just traveling back to London. Since we were so to Wales border we decided to make a day trip to Cardiff to see the Doctor Who Experience.Image

(NB traveling handy hint : if you book trains online at home, take the credit card you used with you.)

A fabulous time was had by one and all, even those who didn’t know much about Doctor Who before hand.

Doctor Who, a scrumptious lunch, a scenic bus ride through Cardiff and we travelled back to London quite weary from our two days away, but having seen a great deal of the English and Welsh countryside and met some lovely people.

To complete a wonderful day we caught a bus through London seeing so many beautiful buildings. A little scary to drive past St Paul’s Cathedral – it’s SO big – and we are singing there on Friday!

But we seem to have lost Philip and Bernadette………Image

 

30
Apr
13

The Taming of the Shrewsbury

Sunday we travelled the rails to Shrewsbury in Shropshire.  Training through the countryside I understand why the early English settlers called the land they discovered  New South Wales.  Although not in south Wales, the countryside is so similar to the mid west of New South Wales.

ImageOn arrival we taxied through the ancient buildings of Shrewsbury to the magnificent St Chads church. It is apparently one of the three circular churches in England. Very beautiful.

We sang Evensong service, then a concert.  The audience was very welcoming. First performances on a tour are always a little nerve wracking, however our audience was very enthusiastic with comments ranging from “the most exciting concert I have ever been to” to “I really quite enjoyed it”.

After a full day of rehearsing, traveling, service and concert we went out for pizza with some members of the St Chad congregation who were billeting us for the night.  For all accounts everyone thoroughly enjoyed their stay. I had a lovely evening and morning with my billets in the little village of Dorrington. Thanks to all those from St Chad’s who looked after us so well.

After a restful sleep we are off to Cardiff, Wales for a day of being a tourist.

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