Ravishing company, opulent acoustics et beaucoup de biere belgique

I have just returned from a wonderful five day choir tour to the continent. The most striking thing about the choral experience had to be the acoustic properties of the wonderful churches in which we sang. Most resonant was La Madeleine, Paris where the reverberations could be heard as many as 10 seconds later and you could feel the echoes coming back at you from different parts of the building at different stages. St Salvator, Bruges and St Severin, Paris were about equally reverberant and much more alive than our familiar cathedral in Chester.

The repertoire suited these rather opulent buildings in which we sang. The insistent ‘Maria’ of Gorecki’s ‘Totus Tuus’ haunted the psyche. Duruflé’s ‘Tantum Ergo’ and Ducasse’s ‘Crux Fidelis’ with French organ accompaniment floated around the many interior curves of La Madeleine. As a baritone though, Naylor’s ‘Vox Dicentis’ had to be the musical highlight for me.

Autumn in Paris - a set on Flickr 01112009 131213Whilst the majority of the choir visited Euro Disney on our day off from singing, I was able to spend a day sight-seeing in Paris and fully appreciate the Parisian architecture set amidst seasonal colours. A selection of my favourite photos taken on this excursion have been posted into a flickr photoset. Whilst Paris was great, my recommendation would be not to take a taxi even half of the way into Paris if you value your Euros.

Alongside the musical, the social aspect of the tour was particularly fine. It was a pleasure to sing with both the boys and girls and to have additional support from numerous deputy lay clerks. Time was spent sampling some of the Belgian beers on offer in the bars around Dixmuide where we stayed for two nights as well as in the (rather extortionately priced) hotel bar at Mercure Coudray Parc, south of Paris.

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Published by Will Hay

Chester based pianist, singer, conductor and teacher