If it weren't for

Clare, I wouldn't

be the singer

I am today

Elin Manahan Thomas, soprano (1995-98)

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USA 'Veni Emmanuel' Tour Blog, Day 2

Date: Monday 09 December 2013

Reviews

 

Hugo Popplewell, Dec Bass 2

 

With most of us refreshed after a long night’s sleep (and the first day without singing for at least a couple of weeks!) we woke up this morning in a snow-covered Princeton. Most people were staying together in a local seminary, with the rest being kindly housed by members of the local choir. We had the morning free; some opted to beat the jet lag by staying in bed until lunchtime, whilst others took the chance to wander through the beautiful grounds of the university and do a bit of shopping in town. Without doubt the highlight was the extraordinary Princeton Record Exchange, a new and used CD and record store with an even greater number of stellar recordings than the Choir of Clare College! (Shameless). Will ‘Bozzy Bozzy Bozzy’ Bosworth was particularly enthralled, spending around two and a half hours in there and very nearly forgetting to have lunch as a result.

 

After finding lunch in various pizzerias/ sandwich shops in town we conglomerated at the concert venue for an intense afternoon rehearsal. The evening’s concert was due to feature us singing roughly half of the programme off copy for the first time, so a fair amount of time was spent trying to drum German chorales and verses of carols into our heads. The comic highlight of the rehearsal was learning an amazing arrangement of ‘Jingle Bells’, our tour encore, which features amongst other effects a vast amount of syncopation, plenty of jazzy harmony and a baritone part nearing the top of our legitimate register. This last was a particular joy for James ‘The Doctor’ Proctor, whose smooth and silky top notes caused no minor disruption in the first sing through.

 

After dinner and some more quick memory checks, we gave our first concert of tour in Trinity Church, Princeton. The audience were not large but were extraordinarily enthusiastic, giving us a great deal of vocal appreciation and getting the tour’s performances off to a good start as well as almost all buying the Choir’s fantastic new CD. (Even more shameless). Our organ scholars used the church’s organ to its full effect in the encore, adding an impromptu bell effect during the final line of ‘Jingle Bells’ – it was generally concluded that they had ‘won’ the concert, giving us hope that despite the current goings-on in Australia British people are still able to win things. Afterwards we retired to our various lodgings in preparation for another early start tomorrow, when we start the day with a six-hour coach trip to Boston!