The quantity and

quality of Music

at Clare seems

in retrospect almost

unbelievable

Stephen Farr, organist, former Organ Scholar (1984-87)

News

Asia Tour Blog – Day 1

Date: Friday 02 September 2016 12.00pm

Reviews

On Thursday the First of September, the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, went to Heathrow Airport in order to catch a plane to Hong Kong. Apart from the fact that Choir Administratress Alice Halstead made everyone arrive four hours early (apart from Graham Ross who strolled into the airport 10 minutes before departure), this entire segment was distinctly uneventful. Therefore pains have been made to accurately transcribe a vision that Harry Castle had during the flight, which will soon be found on his upcoming start-up, CamDream.

“Prepare for splashdown!” the captain of the Airbus A380 shouted as the plane began to hurtle towards the raging sea. For a flight that had only been in the air for 23 minutes, this was more than unexpected. The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, who happened to be mere passengers on this soon-to-be-doomed aircraft, did not scream, despite their horrifying situation. For a group of people in such good voice as they, there was only one solution: mimic the quartet who had played on the fateful Titanic, and produce music unto the very end. “Laud-airbus in Sanctis”, by William Byrd, was their first tune of choice, and the combination of “massive voices” and “top chat” helped to drown out the screams of the other occupants of economy class and, where Toby Hession was sitting, Business Class.

The pilots looked up suddenly, upon hearing the sweet music coming from the rear of the vessel – what was that? Byrd? No sooner had they identified the composer, aided by their Part IA training of the Cambridge Music Tripos, that they were spurred into action and realised their issue – they had suddenly confused up and down on the joystick. “Pull up! Pull up!” called the First Officer, and so they did. The plane was once again levelled, and they cruised on towards Hong Kong.

A twelve-hour flight and snap back to reality later, the Choir disembarked onto the humid ground of the airport, collected their bags and headed to their hotel. Surprisingly, Michael Papadopofopolos was allowed through customs unscathed, whereas Josh Pacey was stopped after sniffer dogs found his suitcase laced with leaflets advocating Britain’s departure not just from the EU but from the Earth itself, and he was sent home immediately. This is why he is not on this trip.

Before too long, the Choir arrived at the Mariners’ Club and checked into their rooms. As a choir that has stayed in a number of high-class establishments in the past, including the M5 Tiverton Travelodge and Gare-du-Nord Mercure, they are used to expecting the highest quality in their occupancy. The Mariners’ Club, thankfully, met these high standards, with each room containing not only air conditioning, but a sink too. Unfortunately, the ladies’ floor only had one shower cubicle, but this is only to be expected as such a naval haunt can only be expected to be full of seamen all year round.

We were then treated to a party at the house of Ken Mao, one of the choir’s most generous benefactors and condiment suppliers. Unfortunately, Jeremy Taramasalata was otherwise engaged and therefore unable to host the choir. A buffet dinner, large amounts of alcohol and even a jazz band (The ‘Cool Cats ‘n’ Docs’, named so because they’re all Catalonian and Bugs Bunny fans) were laid on, and the Choir dined in luxury for the entire evening. Later on, another jazz band stepped up to the podium, the “Kit and Toby Band Also Occasionally Maybe Featuring Leo Benedict Sometimes”, which today did in fact apparently feature Leo Benedict. However their star drummer was 3 year-old Oliver, who stole the show, causing the electric keyboard to storm off halfway through the performance of “Valerie” in which it was being so ungraciously upstaged.

It was a fantastic evening, and later decreed that all Clare Choir tours should from henceforth begin with a party. A minibus carried the group, still singing, back to their hotel, while Director of Music, Mr Gross (sic), slunk off to his own hotel, where apparently he has air-conditioning, a sink, and even blinds that aren’t made of leather and move when you press a button (this part of the story has now been told to each member of the choir individually at least 3 times). It also had a sofa, on which Henny Box was expressly forbidden by the Clare College Housekeeping Office from kipping on.

And so the day ended, for all of the Choir apart from Greg Barber. But more on that tomorrow…

Love from,

Josh and Toby xxx