'Ce concert a été magnifique'............ il y avait au moins 600 à 650 auditeurs...Ce qui est l'un des plus gros concerts de ces dernières années............. à l'année prochaine peut être ?
So you see - The YPC has been to France and these are just a few of the expressions of thanks received from the venues upon our return.
For ourselves we would agree - The concerts were indeed magnificent...stunning and large venues and each one packed to capacity and more, in fact 600 - 650 in the audience was the average at the 3 concert recitals, with perhaps towards 1000 in the magnificence of Bayeux Cathedral. The best for years it seems!
Can we go back next year - I'm afraid not the YPC is committed to touring every 3 years and where next is not yet determined, although memories of our reception in Normandy must ever be a strong draw.
A full day's travelling, leaving Wakefield early morning and arriving at our Hotel in Bayeux late that same evening did nothing to weary the choir for the Friday morning start to Argentan. Everyone was up, ready and on the coach on time.
As the concert was not until 8.30 in the evening, we had chance to stop at the lovely town of Falaise, the birthplace of William the Conqueror. Time was taken to tour the castle and the town, with the leisurely enjoyment of a French lunch being taken by many.
On to Argentan for rehearsal in the Eglise St Germaine and the warm welcome of the church family there, who has worked with the tourist authorities in the city to ensure the concert was well advertised.
Tingling with excitement and eagerness to start, we watched the crowd arrive, and then keep coming, more chairs were brought and still more as the concert began. Each piece was greeted with enthusiastic applause, whether the grand presentations with Organ, Trumpet and Choir of such as 'Zadok the Priest' or 'I was Glad' or the quieter and relective 'How lovely are your dewellings' or 'God so loved the world'. Prolonged final and standing applause brought the 'Hallelujah Chorus' as an encore, more was demanded , but no more was given.......perhaps they'll all come back tomorrow night?
Before leaving for the 90 minute journey back to the hotel the lovely people of the church provided us with home made cake and local produced apple juice and cider, what a treat and a fine end to our first performing day.
Saturday brought much discussion at breakfast about how good the night before had been and would tonight in Bayeux Cathedral match or would it be more restrained.
Saturday allowed visits to the local Saturday Market, the beautiful town itself and of course to the famous Bayeux Tapestry. For some also a chance to relax and enjoy the hotel's outdoor pool and terrace in the sunshine.
The business end of the day began with an early evening rehearsal in the Cathedral ready for the 9.00pm concert. Cathedrals across the world are sometimes a 'mystery of administration' and we almost fell foul of a 'no tick in the box problem' - but negotiation skills and good sense prevailed, to everyone's relief and everything fell into place.
The positioning of the great organ at the back of the cathedral and the smaller organ adjacent to the altar meant the Choir would sing in 3 different places - at the back for works with the grand organ, at the altar steps for more intimate pieces with the small organ and in the centre cross aisled section for other works. This we tried with great success in 2006.
Bayeux is a city alive with tourists, especially American and British, as the D Day beaches are so near, so tonight our superb compere, Paul Dowling, would have to not only have to be informative in fluent French, but also in English too. Our audience began to assemble and continued to do so as the majestic sound of Daniel (Justin) on the Organ and Anthony (Thompson) on Trumpet brought forth the introduction to Parry's 'I was Glad'. The choir, standing on the back steps with the great West Door open behind them ensured the English Choral Classic was heard across the old city.
As a result more flocked in until they were standing 6 deep on the back steps as the choir moved to sing at the front of the cathedral where the audience enjoyed such classics as Bach's 'Jesus Joy of man's desiring'
Daniel's skills on the grand organ were remarked upon all through the tour and tonight he thrilled the audience with works by Bairstow and Macmillan.
Anthony too presented flawless versions of Purcell and Stanley, Telemann and Jeremiah Clark bringing those great Baroque composers to life as the trumpet sound resounded in that glorious space.