Music at Clare was

rather amateurish

when I was up.

How things

have changed!

Sir Roger Norrington, conductor (1954-57)

News

Switzerland September 2017 Tour Blog Day 1

Date: Thursday 28 September 2017 9.15am

Reviews

Switzerland - what comes to mind? Cheese? Chocolate? Army Knives? Military Neutrality that is in no way equivalent to cowardice? As Clare Choir embarked on their final tour of the 2016-17 year, we were prepared for all of these things. There were, however, some things that we just couldn’t have prepared for on this tour, which we plan to lay out for you in the form of a humorous diary-esque blog in the coming days. Strap on.

 

One person who perhaps was not as prepared as she should have been for tour was Ellie Carter, famously Clare’s first female organ scholar and last female organ scholar. Upon going through Heathrow security, buzzers buzzed and flashers flashed, as Ellie was whisked off by guards to go through her bag. Ellie is now notable for being the only person in the history of airport security for whom the follow-up to the question “did you pack this bag yourself madam” has been “really?!”. The scissors that she had attempted to conceal, likely in a bid to become Senior Organ Scholar just a few days early, were taken off her, and all of her many un-bagged liquids sorted.

 

A game of “danger boarding” was begun at the gate by Kit “Dec Tenor 0” Holliday and Joe “Puts Everyone In” Payne. Attempting to be last on the plane, the doors were shut and they both missed the flight and therefore the tour. Oh no wait, I had my “wishful thinking” setting on auto-type. They both made it on the plane and we’ve paid the price in blood.

 

We made it to Switzerland. Details of the flight have been cut from this blog by Graham on grounds of censorship. Big Brother strikes once again. Down with Big Brother. Upon arrival we headed to Lucerne where we met our homestays and separated for the night. Graham had the honour of staying with your very own blog writers, and what an honour that was for him. We shared wine and cheese twists with our kind hosts, and after a large amount of generic phrasebook conversation we turned in for the night. Topics such as “what did you do last weekend”, “what are the financial implications of Brexit for the Swiss Economy” and “where is the nearest library” were bandied around until the early hours. Graham drank only water while the two bottles of wine were finished off by the students alone. [Big Brother strikes again. Down With Big Brother].

 

The next morning began with a tour of Lucerne’s museum about the French Revolution and the Swiss Mercenaries that were involved. The children of the choir, namely Toby and Joe, got to try on authentic-looking costumes from the Revolution era. It is often omitted from history books that human hands have become a lot larger in proportion to the rest of the body in the last 200 years, and therefore these costumes posed a struggle for the pair to remove from their persons. The cuffs stopped moving at the wrist and went no further, despite the efforts of the rest of the choir to tug them off. Some say that they’re still wearing them today. Others that they managed to cut them free within an hour. We’ll leave it up to you to decide what you think is true.

 

One of the sections of the tour presented us with an audio play about the different key characters in the revolution, all seemingly played by the same two actors, to whom English was a very novel concept. They read their scripts with a fluency that Kit Holliday can only dream of, and after laughing heartily about the poor pronunciation, we shut our glib tongues and moved on.

 

Our free afternoon involved walking along Lucerne’s big wooden bridge a few times, and wandering around the city until rehearsals began. The concert itself was hugely enjoyable, with a wonderful acoustic just about hiding Toby “Señor Choral Scholar” Hession’s annihilation of the 13-part Wylkinson canon. Singing with Lucerne's Collegium Vocale] was a real treat, and afterwards we shared a delicious and extremely generous dinner with them. It was a fantastic start to the trip, and we can’t wait to see who writes the blog next, and what they manage to cook up. 

 

Josh Cleary (Dec Tenor 2) and Toby Hession (Can Bass 2)