The Choir

is a whopping jewel

in Clare's musical


Giles Swayne, Composer-in-Residence


Asia Tour Blog - Day 16

Date: Sunday 18 September 2016 5.45pm


Writing to you from 45000ft


The day began at the twin towers once again for our final “dress” rehearsal before the concert with the MPO. For some strange reason I am unable to recall any specific details from the time period spanning the rehearsal… so I must assume it was largely uneventful, progressing very smoothly with no interruptions, finishing at least half an hour before schedule. 

The choir made the most of their extra time by spending even more time on the 2nd floor of the Twin Towers shopping centre, the only place in Kuala Lumpur where any food could be found (apart from the 4th floor), and then exploring the exciting and intriguing new world of the 7th-9th floors of the PNB Perdana Hotel & Suites on the Park. One group of intrepid explorers made their way through the jungle of the 9th floor gym to a pair of Squash courts, where most somewhat cautiously attempted to appear vaguely proficient in the sport. Leo Benedict inwardly struggled with the dilemma of impressing beginner Caroline as well as going easy on her to prove his worth as a gentleman. This dilemma was eventually averted when he realised she was better than him anyway. Kit Holliday tried to hide the fact that he looked rather like a penguin as he flailed around the court, unfortunately with little success. Laurencess Booth-Clibbornss (sic) and Jackson Riley were locked in battle to see who could hit each other’s balls the hardest. Rosie “choke” Taylor arrived, initially opting for a strategy known as the “I’m literally so good at squash”, but quickly changing tactic to “I just haven’t got my eye in yet”.

Meanwhile, Henny Box prepared for the most important solo of her counter-tenor/boy treble career in the 2nd movement of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, by relieving excess weight at extraordinary speeds from various orifices. No-one doubted that she would be in prime condition by 8:30pm for the start of the concert.

Following another glorious meal (seriously, the 2nd floor prices were so reasonable!) the choir made its way to the concert hall for the penultimate concert of the tour. The concert began with what we had been led to believe was the national première of the Fauré Requiem, with beautifully performed solos from Stephen Matthews, an irreplaceable, long-standing member of the choir, and Alice Halstead, who’s improvisation in bar 26 of the Pie Jesu was a little more restrained than the unique performance she gave of the movement in her first year in the choir. The rest of the choir sang almost flawlessly throughout, with only one slip from choir elder Laurencessss Booth-Clibbornssss (sic), who has thus learnt first-hand the implications of “backing himself”. The Chichester Psalms opened the second half of the concert; Henny Box proved Mr Bernstein wrong with ease, as well as managing to remain wholly in solid form for the duration of the Adonai. To end the concert and the choir’s day, the audience enjoyed a tasteful adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for orchestra, choir and electronic canons.