Three impressive venues, some spirited singing, and some very rousing organ music formed the core of the choir’s May weekend tour to Edinburgh and Durham.
St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh hosted the Saturday recital, and with Zadok the Priest as a rallying call to the rolling audience of tourists the choir was given a very warm and enthusiastic welcome. The royal-themed programme was less than an hour long, but very varied - the personal highlights of this groupie the beautifully soft, sweet Ave Verum and the sharp contrasts of I was Glad.
In St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral the choir showed how to lead a congregation in their regular Sunday Mass, with the highlight of the Little Organ Mass Christina Jones’s solo rendition of the Benedictus. And how the congregation enjoyed singing their hymns with a backing choir of sixty voices!
Durham Cathedral on the Monday was a contrast again, with the choir responding to the challenge of the soaring nave and very different organ sound to give of its best to another enthusiastic audience. A similar programme to that of the Saturday seemed all too brief at second hearing, but the balance was just right, and all concerned with the choice of music should know how it delighted the audiences.
But these tours are about much more than the public performances..... they offer the opportunity to get to know each other as friends rather than just as fellow voices, and for non-singing partners to join in; and with time for sightseeing, and a tour of the royal yacht Britannia to enjoy, there was plenty of interest beyond the music. And then of course there was the Cabaret on the last evening, a chance for choir members to let their hair down and show something of their range of talents - a wonderful show. And who can forget the sound - and sight - of Andrew making beautiful music on what can fairly claim to be both the flattest and the sharpest instrument that you ever saw....
Many thanks to Derek and the committee for all the work they did in organising the tour, the hotel, the transport - and for keeping cheerful throughout. Roll on next time!