At the end of the Spring Term, the Chamber Choir embarked on their latest foreign adventure - an eight day tour to Florida. Seven performances - two services, three concerts and two recitals to schools - made for an intense but hugely rewarding tour.
The millionaire city of Naples was our first stop, where the host families could not have been more welcoming. The first rehearsal of the tour was followed by three hours on a private beach, the perfect temperature and turquoise waters ensuring that any possible jet lag was soon banished. The following day - Sunday - was intense with services in United Church of Christ at 9 and 11am and a charity concert at 3pm. 1200 people packed into the beautiful buiding for the three engagements, and they were most generous with their compliments and with their puchasing of the choir's CD!
We then ventured north, and based ourselves in Sarasota for concerts in Siesta Key and Tampa as well as recitals at the Out of Door Academy's Lower and Upper Schools. Each performance was even better than the last - the daily singing proving again how beneficial tours are. Responding to wonderful audiences, powerful organs and perfect acoustics, the girls excelled themselves in sacred music from Mozart and Pergolesi to Schubert and Bednall. The encore - Wonderwall by Oasis - also went down extremely well!
Visiting the two schools was a wonderful experience. The younger children treated the girls like pop stars, and the senior students, sitting in their auditorium and joining in with Coldplay's Viva la Vida had definite parellels with Glee. The older students seemed particularly taken with 35 English schoolgirls' reinterpretation of Britney Spears' Baby one more time.
Despite a busy performance schedule there was time for shopping (of course), the cinema, various stunning beaches, sunbathing and swimming at the hotel, Mote Marine Laboratory and Lowry Park Zoo. Some individuals even found time to revise on their sunbeds.
Our final 24 hours were spent in Miami where after soaking up the last of the sun on South Beach we enjoyed a stunning 4 course meal at Grillfish where even the side dishes were bigger than the average UK main course. Exercise was required the next morning and was found in the shape of Sawgrass Mills - the largest outlet centre in the world.
Laden with bags, tired, but bronzed and happy, the choir boarded the flight home. The tour was a huge success and the the quality of the singing and the warmth of the welcome will not easily be forgotten.