Here was clarity,

precision and

dramatic sweep.

Vincent Plush - The Australian


December Christmas Tour 2016

Date: Sunday 18 December 2016 8.00am


Sunday morning started with (in some cases) a wonderful cooked breakfast courtesy of our homestays, before meeting to get the coach from the church in Leamington Spa. A short coach trip later we arrived at the stately school of Stowe, making time for Alex “The Throne” Porteous to buy some new concert shoes, having forgotten his in London. Despite our Worshipful Director (PBUH) proclaiming that he would have enough time for a cup of tea before Alex and Holly “Power Behind The Throne” Holt returned, he still managed to hold the coach up for several hours following their speedy return. The shoes themselves, incidentally, were a steal at only £20 in the Next Clearance sale, are made of a fashionable black leather, and can be purchased from all good Next stores throughout the country.


Upon arrival at Stowe, we picked our bags and our jaws off the floor and claimed a room each - an unheard of luxury within Clare Choir. Unfortunately this meant that there was no excuse for Tom and Lydia to share a room with each other, having to sneak into the same dorm after lights-out to prevent Joe “I’m a real man” Payne from finding out about their relationship. The one twin dorm on the ground floor was in fact shared by choir couple Holly Holt and Toby Matimong, while in the early hours Alex Porteous could be seen outside the window, ear pressed up against the glass while his fingers slowly blackened and dropped off. Results of his findings are still being assimilated and verified.


As we were proximate to a Natural Trust property we decided to go for lunch at a café which was, according to Clare Choir alum and Radio 3 favourite Sophie “Man Up” Woodhead, ‘so far away’. Fifteen whole minutes later we arrived at the café for a lunch of Pot-Pied Beef or Fingered Fish provided by the National Trust, and in the tradition of such a quintessentially English organisation, had to give up an arm and a leg for the privilege. Just about re-energised by predictably small portions, we trekked back to the school, passing by a lovely (but not quite so lovely as Clare’s) bridge and a triangular Gothic temple, wherein Graham soon started planning a romantic getaway. 


With stories of these star-crossed lovers ringing in our ears we proceeded to while away the time productively with the two great Bs of the English Choral Tradition - the outside and inside games of Bums and Bananagrams. On the tennis courts, The Great Belfast Bum-Off was in full swing, while the common room probably had a fun game of Bananagrams (unsurprisingly we were both busy partaking in said Bum-Off). Despite not singing a single note during the following rehearsal, we headed for pizza and cake feeling like our Grahamographyä was up to scratch.


The concert was well attended and warmly received, although due to our unbridled enthusiasm we found ourselves somewhat higher than A440 for a number of pieces, despite the best efforts of Toby “Tuning Fork” Hession and Anna “That’s Not My Note” Tindall. Having blamed all of this on the acoustic of the chapel, we proceeded to consume Stowe’s entire supply of mulled wine, leading Josh “Dec Tenor Too” Cleary to push his own frankly revolting concept of mulled Shlaoeur, to little success. Following this, unperturbed by the prospect of a 6am coach trip the next morning, a number of choir members watched “Nativity” in the common room while others enjoyed Matilda “Chooooon” Mills’ self-professed incredible taste in music, although admittedly this half missed out on the gripping re-enactment of the birthing of the Christ child.


Tune in tomorrow to find out what happens when Clare Choir is let loose in Amsterdam…


Jackson Riley (Dec Tenor 1) and Matthew Nixon (Dec Bass 1)