I flew over from Amsterdam to the UK last night, along with a group of fellow singers, who I bumped into in the security line. Despite being threatened by a 747, we had a quick and uneventful flight (even if we did have to pay for the cups of tea).
Whilst the rest of the group headed straight off to Ely, I spent the night in an old manor house, near to the airport. Aside from the planes taking off overhead, it was very tranquil, and felt like being in the middle of the country.
This morning I took the train to Ely, arriving with enough time to sit down with a cup of tea on the cathedral green and catch up with everyone before our first rehearsal. The song school here is tiny, and we had a hard time fitting everyone in. I sang here 12 years ago, with Bowdon choir, but I have no recollection at all of where we rehearsed, the song school seems totally unfamiliar.
After 3 rehearsals, it was time for our first evensong:
- Preces and Responses: Heathcote Statham
- Psalms: 6, 7 and 8
- Canticles: Walmisley in D minor
- Anthem: The Lord hath been Mindful, S S Wesley
As ever, after all that rehearsing, evensong itself seemed to be over in a flash. Considering that it was a Monday night, we had a pretty decent congregation, though I should of course some of those present were our own fan club.
We’re staying at Bishop Woodford House, a diocesan retreat house. It’s pleasant enough, although the lack of shower is somewhat depressing. Looks we have to go back in time and use one of these. Unfortunately it seems like it won’t attach to the bath, but only the sink taps. Good thing that Anna and I plan to go to the swimming baths, I think!
We do, at least, have a view onto the cathedral from the kitchen.