By: Lucy Bloore, Director of Music |
The Choir Tour to France and Belgium was an unprecedented success. We stayed in Chateau d’Ebblinghem, where we had sole occupancy of a large and spacious hotel. As well as enjoying time together rehearsing and preparing for our three performances, we were able to fit in visits to many of the Battlefields memorials and exhibitions. Our visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery was particularly moving, as was the fantastic museum in Ypres, In Flanders Fields. There was also plenty of recreation time, with shopping (and waffle tasting) in Bruges, swimming, a visit to a chocolate factory and the most hilarious bakery tour and workshops ever! We were proud to be able to visit St George’s memorial chapel, where we spent time thinking not only of the OFs who had fought for us, but of all the fallen.
We performed in Ypres Cathedral, which was breathtakingly beautiful, and a very upmarket retirement home in Boulogne Sur-Mer (to over 300 people!). But, without doubt, our moment of awe and wonder was our performance during the Last Post Ceremony at The Menin Gate. The emotion of the moment, and our focus and sense of unity after spending time together played a large part in the magical performance that the choir gave. Despite being relatively small in number, the choir sounded full and controlled, and were able to sing ‘God So Loved The World’ by Bob Chilcott with technical assurity and heaps of musicality. It was a performance that I shall never forget, and I am sure that the same came be said of everyone who was involved. There was that fantastic moment where time stands still as our performance ended, and tears were shed from both performers and audience.
This tour was full of joy, friendship, teamwork and musicianship, and was enjoyable from start to finish. We can’t wait for the next one, and look forward to continuing to aim for more moments such as these on home territory!
We will be publishing a video soon, do look out for it on our website!