Yesterday we had a gig in Josselin, which is about an hour and a half from Quimper. We had our earliest departure yet, at 10, slightly later than Hannah wanted because of the time needed for Dave, the bus driver, to have between trips. The journey was broken-up with a stop in Quimperle for coffee.
Josselin is a lovely medieval town, but does suffer from the problem that it wasn’t designed for big vehicles. We followed the instructions from the tourist office, but still had to squeeze through some narrow roads. We were dropped close to the basilica, where we performing, and the equipment was stowed there. Then Hannah negotiated with the castle ticket office to get a reduced rate tour of the castle. She succeeded in getting half off and we got a tour from a guide who hadn’t done one in English before. She started well, but got confused as Hannah tended to repeat words in clearer English and the choir kept behaving like a panto audience booing baddies and awhing at love stories. One of the latter got the guide into a fit of giggles and she had to stop doing the tour in English Ans switched to French and Hannah did the translation. It was all very interesting and everyone really enjoyed it and were much impressed with the castle. Likewise, the guide was impressed with us,saying we were her best group every, and she came to the concert in the evening.
After the castle tour was done, Hannah had arranged for us to sing some songs in a little square at the entrance to the castle, bounded by it’s walls, ticket office, tourist office (in ancient, pretty buildings) and a small chapel. An excellent setting. We did the stock ‘Over the Rainbow’, followed by some Abba and Beatles, for the first time on the tour. This generated a small audience and Rachel shook an offering box for choir funds.
Then there was time for lunch and for folks to admire the town. The climb up the basilica tower was very hard work, but worth the views, apparently.
At 5, Hannah had us singing again, this time in front of the basilica, surrounded by bars and cafes, so an audience was provided. They seemed to enjoy it. After that came the wait to set up the kit, as there was a service and mass in the basilica until 7. We got that all set up with no problem.
An unusual aspect of this concert was that the toilets were at the back of the alter, and so some nodding and bowing was needed on the way.
The performance of the concert went well. Again, the acoustics were excellent. The sustain pedal on the piano developed a squeak, which could be heard during quiet music. The audience was more than Tuesday’s, with probably more than a hundred people in total (there was a lot of coming and going).
The main incident was in the second half, when two arrivals did some heckling. The particularly drunk one did a drum impersonation during a fanatic rest during a song, followed by other random noises. At the end of that song, Hannah turned and quietly asked him to leave, which thankfully he did. His friend remained (on whom Hannah noticed fresh needle marks). Then during Chris’s introduction to the next song, he heckled saying this was all hypocritical, he didn’t like us singing in English, it wasn’t right in a church and he didn’t believe in God anyway (this is Hannah’s translation, as he was speaking French). Hannah asked him to leave, and he said no, to which Hannah replied “we’ll wait for you then”, so he got up and left. A very brave and well handled situation by Hannah.
As Josselin is quite a journey from Quimper, we were late back and all quite ready for a good night’s sleep.


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