A College so rich

in musical talent

Timothy Brown, conductor, former Director of Music (1979-2010)


USA December 2017 Tour Blog: Day 11

Date: Saturday 16 December 2017 12.15pm


Saturday dawned in Lubbock, sunlight glancing through the windows of the plane in which Clare Choir were already sat, having awoken over three hours earlier. Nick “i’m actually the most modest-est” Hendy and Josh “don’t push me darling” Cleary arrived bleary eyed, having been struck dumb by a combination of amazement at the latest Star Wars film and the fact that the credits rolled at 2am. Mr Cleary however emerged the worst for wear, Mr Hendy having spent most of the film in a blissful slumber.


The rest of us were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at least until we realised that the two hour flight that we were about to take was in the exact opposite direction of our concert destination, Palm Springs. In the words of our Texan hosts, “You can’t even get to Hell without going through Dallas or Houston”. Houston it was then. After a brief layover we retraced our steps and then some, landing amidst mountains and palm trees - a beautiful oasis of green surrounded by desert. The church that we were to be singing in had glass on three sides showcasing the scenery, as well having an oddly asymmetric organ that, nevertheless, performed quite admirably. Josh Cleary expressed great empathy with the plight of this particular instrument.


Taking advantage of the time before any rehearsal, the choir departed en masse to the nearest mall, planning to take on sustenance and do some Christmas shopping. Quickly realising the mall to be as bleak and desolate as the desert that surrounded it, the coach was hurriedly called back for an emergency evacuation. The more restless among us aimed for some fresh air, walking (or in some cases running) up the hills that were very close to the church, affording them amazing views of the city. Kit “we’re all going on a summer” Holliday and Toby “pitch-pipe +/- a quarter-tone” Hession didn’t stop at the lookout point however, continuing up the mountain and out of sight. 


Sensing a long awaited opportunity to shed a significant amount of dead weight, the rest of the group fled back to the church, hurriedly scattering all of the breadcrumbs that they had carefully laid to mark the way. Despite our best efforts Kit and Toby escaped the wilderness; their reign of choral terrorism continues.


After a brief rehearsal, dinner was served. Much to the delight of the namby-pamby, tree-hugging snowflakes amongst us (or as we say back home, ‘vegetarians’), hummus was provided in excess and was promptly demolished #mostbasicchoirincambridge. 


Whilst the majority of the evening’s performance passed without incident, Joe “oh no, I’ve forgotten my suede brush” Payne, already the choir’s most prolific source of hot air, positively exc(p)elled himself during the last moments of an otherwise underwhelming rendition of “Santa Baby”. In the words of John “can’t believe its not butter” Rutter, he truly proved himself “the cause why things thus fragrant be”...


Following a very welcome champagne reception, during which our younger singers of course consumed only freshly squeezed orange juice, we were swept away to that evening’s homestays, ft. jacuzzis, infinity pools and wall-sized Donald Trump posters. More than one of us were pursued through their dreams by a terrifying, orange racist. 


Much love, Isaac and Jackson