While the weather was only a trifle wet in the morning for us, we later learned that in and around London it had rained more in 3 hours then it usually does in 3 months! It drenched the London opening of “Harry Potter” and caused the Queen to scurry for cover during a lawn party.
The schedule for the students was to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The schedule for the chaperons and staff was to shop, walk and search for Internet!
We found an internet connection at the Half Moon Inn – along with every other staff member from every other chorus! We all had one thought on our minds; update our web pages and blogs! We had met a few of the members of the Savannah Children’s Choir and enjoyed talking “shop” with them. Their chorus manager was having technical troubles, so Frank happily stepped in to help her re-establish connections back home!
While Frank and I were busy with the technical end of things and the children were rehearsing, the chaperons got a chance to see Sherborne during “working hours” and shopped at the local establishments. I saw many bags being carried up and down the main shopping area and chaperons peeking in through store fronts to see if they could bring home some kind of treasure.
As if called from all corners of the town by an unseen cue, chaperons and staff began appearing by the cafeteria, awaiting their charges. The plan was to have dinner, have the students change into their uniforms, and attend the evening performance at Sherborne Abbey where the chorus was to perform their individual program and listen to the other groups perform.
As groups gathered on the lawn of the Abbey, the air grew thick with excitement. Our first performance in England!! The shadow tour parents had arrived and we noticed the patrons lining up to attend the festival. The smiles were wide and the adrenaline was high. We filed into the packed Abbey and an expectant hush came over the crowd.
We were greeted by John Wiscombe, the founder of Music Celebrations International, who reaffirmed what everyone had been feeling. We were gathered in a great hall to bear witness to a great love of music!It was wonderful to know that not only would we produce beautiful music that evening, but that we would be helping to support a local hospice through donations from the audience.
The festival began with the phenomenal group Cantate, led by Micheal Kibblewhite. The sound from this group was very impressive and our singers loved some of the songs they sang. The Savannah Children’s Choir was next. They had a sweet sound with young voices. It was clear that great things were in store for this young and new chorus.The Phoenix Girls Chorus was a beautiful sight in their red gowns and their performance was crisp and clean with lovely harmonies. Anima, the group led by Emily Ellsworth, was energetic and animated. Their sound and showmanship were incredible. Of course, our group was superb. The children were classically elegant and their sound was glorious to hear.
After the performance, there was a reception in the cafeteria. The students, who were starting to make friends after two days of rehearsals and fostering mutual respect after hearing each other sing, were bonding to one another through music while enjoying some much needed refreshments. It was good to see the groups mingling and getting to know one another.