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Impressions of the tour

Well, we're back!

Tonight was the first rehearsal of the new season and I'm sure we're all thoroughly excited about the new music for this season, but before we relegate the summer to memories gone by we received some lovely emails and photos from choir members and guests about our tour in France that we wanted to share with you all:

From Bob and Elizabeth

Dear Derek,

Simply to say – a huge “thank you” from both of us. We know that such events don’t just happen, they require a tremendous amount of planning, hard work – and patience!

We both really enjoyed the trip and many memories will stay for a long while in the memory. Probably singing in Bayeux Cathedral was for both of us the absolute highlight – close to a spiritual experience! Superb in every way – so our heartfelt appreciation!

As ever, Bob and Elizabeth

From Anthony

Dear Derek,

Everyone knows that the choir can certainly sing, but my compliment to the assembled group at the cabaret was that I felt I would have been comfortable on any of the tables (I mean in terms of company, not dancing!)

Thanks to all,

Love ANT.

From David

Hello, Derek, Richard, Chris and Andrew.

Just to say a big “thank you” to you all for a wonderful tour. We knew we would enjoy it, but it was even better than we had expected. In the distant past, we both had experience of organising school trips and know how some of the complexities that you’ve had to deal with – although neither of us attempted anything remotely as ambitious as the Normandy tour – so we have some idea of just how much time and effort went into making such a great experience for everyone in the party. We just hope you enjoyed it at least half as much as we did!

You probably all need a holiday now! Best wishes, David

From Sarah and Colin

Dear Derek,

Here is a short message from Colin. Thank you for all you did towards making the trip to Bayeux so special.


Dear All,

Let me say at the beginning that Hubert Parry is a hero of mine and to hear ‘I Was Glad’ not once, but three times plus rehearsals was a great pleasure, though it is not typical Parry. That lies with the 4th symphony and the Songs of Farewell.

The buildings in which you sang were very remarkable indeed and it was lovely to stroll around them and then to sit amongst an excited, interested, expectant congregation. I always made the point of listening and sitting close with them. In one instance at Caen, a gentleman sang the entire Hallelujah chorus with his wife joining in occasionally and giving him a hug at the end!

In another instance, a young lady asked me if she could sit in the chair next to me and kept giving me the sweetest of smiles which to an elderly gentleman is always elevating! She then disappeared and I never saw her again.

It was good to see Andrew almost dancing in front of the choir when the problems at Bayeux had been resolved, but I did worry about him standing on the chair to conduct underneath the mighty organ, which felt as if its sounds and resonances might lift us all into the blue skies above.

Going to Rouen and the Impressionist exhibition was also a highlight. I was moved by the statue of Joan of Arc with the flames around her legs. We British are a ruthless lot and have little to commend us. Sarah and I walked to the British Cemetery in Bayeux early Monday morning and were moved, not least by the presence of German dead.

Have you ever thought of taking the choir to sing at the war cemeteries in Northern France?


From Pierre

Dear Richard,

Thanks for your mail of yesterday which I just opened.

Glad you all enjoyed your visit and concert in Argentan as much as we all did just listening to you. The choir did a marvellous job and your conductor Andrew Padmore was fantastic not to forget the organist and the trumpet player, and we look forward to having you again here in Argentan in 2 years time if you can.

In fact, in the past, we have had the joy of having choirs from St. Alban’s, Eltham and a few others of different levels. Amities International has now been in existence for 10 years and we, together with the Cultural Service of the Town Hall have had many exchanges with our Twin Town – Abingdon. We have been twinned with Abingdon since 1956, so, many exchanges have taken place during this period at Town – Church and School level and the Twinning Society in Abingdon has always been very active and solid.

Warm regards to Chris, yourself and the members of the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir.

Pierre, - and I am sure Isabelle and Ionie join me in sending you our thanks for this wonderful and pleasant evening of song and friendship.

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