Sorry it has taken me so long to update – we have not had internet connections at our past three hotels! I’ve had these blogs written on my laptop, but I have not been able to get an internet connection for my computer. Our hotel in London has internet that is not free, so I may not be updating everyday we are here.
On Tuesday we left Ireland for Wales on a ferry. The ferry was huge! Our buses drove onto the ferry, and then we got off the bus to go to the food court. It took about two hours to get to Wales, and I think a few people may have gotten sea sick! Once we docked in Wales, we all got back on the bus and drove off of the ferry.
We then had a two hour bus ride through Snowdonia, a mountainous region in northern Wales, on our way to Rydal Penrhos School for an afternoon recital. This school was a private school for middle school aged children. We gave a performance of a variety of music and tried to include all of our up beat pieces to entertain the youthful audience. I think they really enjoyed the concert, especially when we sang “Dry Bones”! After our concert we all boarded back on the buses for a ride to Chester, England. Once in Chester, we checked into our hotel and then broke up into groups for dinner.
Wednesday morning we all gathered in the lobby with our bags to load the bus since we would not be returning to that hotel. As we were loading the bus, it began to rain. Unfortunately we had a walking tour of Chester that morning! We broke up into four groups, and guides took us around the city while giving us a brief history of Chester. By the end of the tour we were all freezing and soaked, but I think we all enjoyed getting to walk around after all of our time on the bus.
Wednesday afternoon was a highlight for many on the trip. We went to Chatsworth House, which was Pemberly (Mr. Darcy’s House) in the film versions of Pride and Prejudice! All the Jane Austen fans were very excited. If you have seen the latest version of Pride and Prejudice, you may remember a scene when Elizabeth is in the sculpture gallery at Pemberly and sees a bust of Mr. Darcy. Well, that bust was given to Chatsworth House and was in the sculpture gallery! There was a swarm of girls around it to take pictures of Mr. Darcy! After leaving Chatsworth House we had another bus ride to Lincoln.
On Thursday we gave our third performance of tour. We took a bus up to Lincoln Cathedral and did some shopping in the gift shop. Then we broke up into four groups and went on a tour of the cathedral. I was really excited to see Lincoln Cathedral because I studied last summer at Oxford, and just like with the Book of Kells, I really enjoy seeing in person what I study in school. Today we learned about the history of the cathedral and how it was built and destroyed and rebuilt. We also heard stories behind the people buried in the cathedral. After our tour, many of us ate lunch in the café in the cathedral while others explored the area around the cathedral for a place to eat.
We all thought that we would be giving our performance in the cathedral, but we ended up singing in the Chapter House where parts of the Da Vinci Code were filmed. Just like with Chatsworth House and Pride and Prejudice, many people in the choir had fun acting our scenes from the Da Vinci Code while in the cathedral. We then lined up in the Cloister and went back into the Chapter House to give a performance of sacred music. Although the crowd began small, more and more people came to listen to us sing throughout the concert.
After we finished singing, we received a very special compliment from one of the women who works at Lincoln Cathedral. She told us that the way the choir works together to make music shows that diverse groups of people really can successfully work together to produce something beautiful. She also commented that we helped aid in worship on the Ascension Day. Her comments were so meaningful because as a choir we strive to work together, respect one another, and trust one another. On a trip when we are together at all times, sometimes it can be hard to always be respectful of one another. I think her comment reminded us all of our main purpose on this trip, which is to work together to make music.
On Friday (my 21st birthday!) we left Lincoln for Walsall, and on the way, we stopped at Royal Crown Derby for a factory tour and some shopping. Several people bought tea cups and saucers, while others bought paper weights. I got a small figure of an angel.
We then made our way to Walsall for our last full concert of the year. We sang at local Methodist Church, and we had a great turnout! We sang a wide variety of songs including “Big River,” “Old West Medley,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” I was so surprised that the audience knew the words to so many of our songs – they sang along with us! I think we all really enjoyed this performance because the audience seemed to enjoy it so much.
Today (Saturday) we left Walsall for London! Once in London, we visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, went to Harrods department store, and went to the Natural History Museum. We also got tickets to go see Wicked at the West End! I am so excited! Hopefully we will be able to navigate the subway system to get to the theatre! We are getting ready to go right now while watching a “football” (soccer) match between Chelsea and Manchester United. Apparently it is a really important game – I’m not really sure. Our guide told us to avoid Trafalgar Square tonight because all the sports fans would be there celebrating if their respective team won.
Tomorrow we are taking a bus tour of London and then we have the afternoon to explore!
The End. Love, Margaret