An environment

dedicated to

making music of

all varieties at

a very high level

Nicholas Mulroy, tenor (1995-99)


USA 'Veni Emmanuel' Tour Blog, Day 5

Date: Saturday 14 December 2013 6.45pm



Kit Preston-Bell, Can Bass 1


“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; the people that dwell in the shadow of death, upon them the light has shined”.


These familiar words from Isaiah took on a new meaning to those present at our concert in St. Johnsbury, Vermont last night, when a previously unheard sound emerged from our director’s mouth.  Amidst the splutters of an uncontrollable coughing fit from a soloist, all present were treated to some of the most glorious top Es known to humanity, performed with the poise and grace of a seasoned professional.  All who witnessed these scenes are in unanimous agreement that their lives have changed forevermore, made ever brighter by the revelatory sounds that blessed our ears on Thursday 12th December 2013.  (I should also take this moment to thank Mr. Ross for doing this, as it was me and my coughing that drove him to such extremes).


This unexpected surprise was not the only experience we will fondly carry away from St. Johnsbury.  Having reached the halfway point of the tour, the schedule appears to be taking its toll, with three of our number having to sit out various parts of the concert for one reason or another.  The choir bravely soldiered on in the face of such adversity however, with Emma Simmons deserving particular congratulation for appearing completely unfazed by the realization that she was the last can alto standing.  That said, the pressure did appear to reach Graham Ross at one point when he misquoted a passage from Byrd’s ‘Vigilate’, inducing such a fit of laughter from the organ scholars that I am told it is a wonder that the first page of ‘The Fear of the Lord’ ever happened at all.  Things were quickly brought back to the realm of the serious and demure by James Proctor, who emerged on stage for a rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ wearing an ill-fitting Santa hat.  All in all, it was a very successful concert.


In other news, a highly productive choir football training session was held in the basement below the church, producing some glorious moments of skill from all involved.  Oliver El-Holiby was particularly aggressive as a defender, pursuing the ball with great intent and determination in a manner reminiscent of the athletic feats performed by a lion on the hunt in the wild.  A few of our number were perhaps slightly too eager to kick the ball into the ceiling at times, raising some serious fears for the light fittings, but by the end everyone was passing like a graduate of the Barcelona training academy.  With the amount quality on show today, things bode very well for the second half of the choir football season.


All of this was preceded by a lengthy coach journey through the beautiful White Mountains, which I can very accurately describe as epic on a scale similar to that seen in parts of The Fellowship of the Ring.  I can say this with such certainty because we were watching this film on the coach, providing a very clear opportunity for comparison.  Tomorrow we are obeying Gandalf’s last words* in the film, and getting on a plane to Cincinnati.


* “Fly, you fools”