Sunday 30 September 2018
We are getting used to the routine now – straight after breakfast we are into Tom’s sessions! However, our daily singing rehearsal is certainly paying dividends as our ‘sound’ is becoming more blended and unified and most importantly – confident. We are only about 30% the size of our regular choir back home, so with so few on stage – we all are needed, and we need to get used to a new smaller sound.
On the bus for the trip from York to Chester. We stop at Holmfirth for a lunch stop. Unbeknownst to anyone on tour, including the drivers – they were in the middle of a two-day food and wine festival and the place was packed. It made moving the bus around a bit difficult. We had arranged for a local guide to join us and regale us with tales of the town plus of the two major series – Call the Midwife and Last of the Summer Wine that have been filmed in this town and area! He was funny and engaging and spoke nonstop for the entire 40 minutes he was on the bus. A particularly interesting tale from the town’s history involves a former Vicar who was the leader of a gang of thieves chipping the gold and silver off the old English coins and making their own coinage from them. The son of the vicar was also charged but let off because it was felt he was forced into the crime. The nice irony is that he went on to become head of the Royal Mint! Now whether any of this story is true is besides the point – it’s this story which I will remember from our time in Holmfirth!
Onto Chester by 3.30pm and the choir members had to be back on the bus for our trip to the Chester Town Hall. Our fifth concert of the tour was to be with both the Chester Male Voice Choir and the Flint Welsh Male Voice Choir. Each choir had a bracket of five songs; our Ayşe had two brackets of two songs; and the combined three choirs had a bracket to close the concert of six songs finishing with the impressive ‘World in Union.’ It was a truly memorable concert and for the boys of our choir who hadn’t sung with so many before, it was a small taste of what to expect at the Royal Albert if only a tenth the size!
On a personal note, I also had the pleasure of catching up with members of St Peter’s Waverton Church – where I had been the Vicar for twelve weeks on exchange back in 2007 – Waverton is only 4 miles out of Chester and many had made the trip in for the concert. I was touched that they even remembered me yet wanted to come out to see me again. It was another wonderful day on tour!