The Choir

is a whopping jewel

in Clare's musical


Giles Swayne, Composer-in-Residence


USA Tour Blog September 2014: Day 7

Date: Saturday 27 September 2014



Day seven heralded our longest journey of the tour so far – Conway to Oklahoma City. As a result, we awoke relatively early in order to make our destination on time. After coffee, tea, and James Proctor’s customary hot chocolate had been provided by our generous homestays, we set off on the long trek west.


Entertainment on these long bus journeys, as the choir knows only too well from previous tours, can be fairly sparse. However, the incoming football results, as well as a particularly creative session of limerick writing kept the choir amused until, at our first rest stop, James Proctor purchased a copy of ‘Avengers Assemble’ for the bus. The saga that ensued was worthy of Hollywood itself. Our beloved choir administrator proved no match for the recalcitrant disc but valiantly battled to provide us with an enjoyable, if patchy, movie experience.


As the cloud-capped towers of Oklahoma City loomed on the horizon, the choir readied itself for arrival. However, it would not be a Clare Choir journey without at least one navigational glitch, and after an amusing tour of some of the city’s other ecclesiastical establishments, which included an unexpected visit to Oklahoma’s International Harvest church, we arrived at First Presbyterian in time for us to experience the sweltering midday heat.


Whilst our diligent organ scholar made himself familiar with First Presbyterian’s gigantic instrument, the rest of the choir went in search of sustenance. Puffer Jones, the Director of Music at the church kindly provided us with a map of the surrounding area and, whilst most of the choir indulged in Pizza, Thai or ‘Bubba’s Bubba-Q’, an intrepid splinter group ventured into the city to visit the National Cowboy Museum, an experience that they greatly enjoyed.


After a brief rehearsal in the spacious venue we were kindly provided with a delicious supper by First Presbyterian, once again proving that one can never go hungry on tour.


Many of the choir then set out to investigate the quality of the local car park’s playing surface. After an impressive round of danger-shower by Robin Culshaw, we stepped out on the brightly lit stage to warm applause from a sizeable and welcoming audience. The concert progressed swimmingly, Graham’s chat was unfalteringly original and banterous and Matthew Jorysz’s playing won him the dedicated support of a few fellow players in the audience. However, as the second half began, a surprise greeted Abi Gostick, our experienced Lay-Clerk, as she opened her folder. She discovered that she was bereft of any music. Credit must go to her faultless ‘choir-face’ as she continued to smile and indeed to sing for the rest of her penultimate concert with Clare Choir. A successful performance completed, we were generously welcomed by another set of kind hosts. Our beds called to us as we readied ourselves for the final push into Texas and then home.




Laurence Booth-Clibborn (Dec Tenor 1) and Alice Halstead (Dec Sop 2)