The Choir

is a whopping jewel

in Clare's musical

crown

Giles Swayne, Composer-in-Residence

News

USA 'Veni Emmanuel' Tour Blog, Day 7

Date: Saturday 14 December 2013

Reviews

Alex Walmsley, Dec Tenor 2

 

After the exploits of Robin, Bosworth and myself the previous night, the city of Cincinatti inevitably rose several places in the country’s Most Alcoholic Cities rankings (#evensonglads). Thus it was that I awoke on Saturday morning 20 minutes before the bus was set to leave for Cleveland. After a hasty breakfast at the hotel, during which Graham claims to have seen Saul Berinson from Homeland, we bid Cincinatti farewell and headed into the badlands of Ohio for the long drive to Cleveland.

 

The long bus journeys on this tour have become somewhat of a routine now. There is sleep, service station food, and word games. Banter was thin on the ground during this period, and therefore it shall not feature heavily in this blog post.

 

Arriving in Cleveland around 4 O’Clock in the afternoon, we found the place under a foot of snow. Therefore, we all gaily frolicked in it for the next half an hour in the church car park. After a short rehearsal, we had dinner and prepared ourselves for the final concert of tour.

 

After a solid week of singing the same repertoire every night, one might imagine that we know all the pieces off by heart. In fact, the only bit of the programme each of us could probably recite by memory are Graham’s episodes of stage banter that come at regular intervals between each set of pieces. For example, there is the bit that starts “People often ask me how many people in the choir study music. The answer is, in fact, only 7 or 8.” The answer is, in fact, 10, but so far we have let that one slide. My personal favourite comes every time we sing “Christ is the Morning Star”, a new piece by John Rutter commissioned for the choir, when the line goes that this is the “x premiere of John Rutter’s new piece”, where x is the current location of the choir, be it Princeton, Concord, or St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The audience never fails to be politely amused at that one. Inevitably, there are also people that find it way too funny.

 

Following the concert, mental and physical exhaustion set in so we all packed off to our homestays for the night, which were kindly organized by the family of Gaby Haigh, a Clare soprano and resident of Cleveland Heights herself. Tomorrow we are flying from Detroit International Airport back to London, and the final three concerts of the year. I anticipate the day’s highlight to be spending some mad dollar in duty free with the rest of our per diems.