Posts Tagged ‘choral’

Medina High Community Choir Brittany Tour Day 5

August 9, 2010

We’re all back home now, and I’m playing catchup on blogging the tour. Hopefully I can remember the hectic end to last week.

This day didn’t start brilliantly for Hannah because as we were queuing up for the breakfast buffet, the proprietor called out to Hannah ‘you’re too late!’, by which he meant that the choir were coming for breakfast too late and distrupting breakfast for the other hotel guests. An unfortunate situation, but basically he had too many people in his hotel for the small breakfast room to cope. Okay, we did get a good discount rate, but we had brought many thousands of Euros of business to his establishment. Other than that, he was very helpful throughout our stay, and anyone I spoke to in the choir was very compliemtary of the B&B.

The fifth day of the tour brought visits to Concarneau and Ploerdut. Concarneau is a very well-known fishing port and ancient medieval walled town; Ploerdut is not so well-known, and, so it appeared from the coach journey there, is somewhat in the middle of nowhere, but does have an historic church, the oldest Romanesque church in Brittany, which we had the priviledge to perform in.

Concarneau was not an official performance. Hannah and I had visited it last year while on holiday, and Hannah had mailed the Cultural Office of the town many times over the last year to get permission to have a concert in an amphitheatre in the Ville Close, which is set against the town walls. It is a wonderful setting, with seating (bleachers style) and power (a boon for an outside performance). All of those mails went unanswered, much to Hannah’s disappointment. Therefore she decided we’d do a smash-and-grab gig there, and just turn up, sing a few songs and then move on; and this is what we did. We sang ‘Over the Rainbow’ and, I think ‘Mamma Mia’, although my memory is already beginning to fade of what we sang where. As the amphitheatre is at the end of the main thoroughfare, we gathered quite a few people in the audience during the short time we sang, and the weather was lovely and sunny, so it was great.

After that quick performance, the choir had free time to explore the ancient city and have lunch. Again, it was another place that all were very impressed with. Tara Dean, one of the lady ‘middles’, was treated by her children, Cyrus and Hanna, to lunch, and had asked Hannah and I for advice on a good place to go to make the most of this. We had advised a restaurant we visited last year, which Hannah believed had the best mussles of our trips to France. Unfortunately, that establishment had changed its name, but pretty much seems to be the same as it was. It’s now called Lobelys. I believe they had an excellent lunch, and somehow Cyrus and his friend and fellow bass singer, Finlay, consumed a five scoop ice cream cone bought in the Ville Close.

For Hannah and I it was a particular highlight as we had Ella with us for that part of the day, after we’d picked her up and borrowed her from her Granny and Grandpa earlier on. She got to enjoy the performance, and the adoration of the choir, with Dr Chris (Christine French, one of the lady ‘bottoms’) being that day’s favourite of Ella’s. Ella wasn’t so pleased with her lunch, describing the mules a la creme, as ‘too creamy’.

Once everyone was back on board the bus, it was a long journey on some back roads to Ploerdut. I think it took longer than expected but as I was asleep I lost track of times. When we arrived at Ploerdut, we were straight into performance as we’d agreed to do some singing at the evening market in the town. It was certainly the smallest market I’ve ever seen in France, having about five stalls. This meant we had a rather limited audience. This was a notable outside gig as it was the only one we did with the keyboards, as it was the only one where we had access to electricity. We rattled through a number of Abba and Beatles songs before breaking to either have dinner or set up the equipment for the concert in the church.

As the church was a simple Romanesque one, it meant that the acoustics were also similarly simple, so that the sound wasn’t as dispersed by various statues and chapels as they might have been in the previous two churches, and also it had a lovely vaulted ceiling.

A couple of non-singing standouts for this concert were Sarah Whitehead, one of the lady ‘middles’ falling down a step of the podium we were singing on when we returned after the break (no damage taken) and Avril Osbourn (another middle), who had twisted her ankle the day before and couldn’t stand through the concert and as she didn’t want to sit the concert out, had a chair on the podium behind the choir so that she could join in.

It was universally agreed that this was the best gospel concert we did during the tour. Vicki Brewer’s (soprano and treasurer) solo in Hannah’s mash-up of ‘A Moment Like This’ and ‘Ave Maria’ was absolutely spot on, and she was particularly pleased with it. In general all the songs went very well and again the audience was very appreciatively with a small standing ovation at the end.

As ever, once the concert was done, we quickly took down the equipment and loaded up the bus. Indeed, at some stage during the tour this swiftness of taking down needed reigning in because things were either being put back in the wrong place, or being taken off to the bus before they were ready to go, etc, and so Hannah had to restrict the people helping Simon Woods (tenor and given the charge of the set-up of the equipment) to try and keep it more orderly. Fortunately this was extended to the lifting and carrying, because there was always plenty of that to do.

This day had another late return back to the hotel, and everyone returned to their rooms to either sleep off the day or party into the small hours.

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Coming Soon

July 28, 2010

Over the next fortnight or so, lots of the postings will be about the Medina High Community Choir tour in Brittany. If you’re on Facebook, there are events for the actual concerts we’re doing, and we’ll also be busking in Quimper, Josselin and the general area.

The events are here:

The first three will be Gospel concerts, in various churches, and the final one is from our Abba and Beatles repitoire. All will be excellent, and we hope to see many people there. I’ll report on how it all goes here on my blog.