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Tour to Normandy with Wood Green School Junior Choir

IMG_0444 (2)Our colleage Eve just returned from a tour to Normandy with Wood Green School Junior Choir from Oxford, and told us all about her experiences:

“Sleepy as they may have been after a very early start, the choir were lively and excited by the time we reached Dover for a very smooth crossing. Cries of “we’re in France!” were to be heard at the sight of a man wearing a beret when the we got of the coach for a stop en route to the accommodation. For some, it was their first time overseas. We slept well that night in our French countryside manor.

The next morning, after learning that the French don’t use a plate for their bread and they drink tea from a bowl, we headed into Caen town centre for a joint rehearsal with the local choir. The rain had been pouring down during rehearsal but with a stroke of luck it brightened up just in time for us to explore Caen and find some lunch. We then paid a quick visit to the castle, built by William the Conqueror, to enjoy the views.

In the afternoon we went to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor retirement home for our first concert.  The choir were pleased to see a picture of their own faces singing out on a poster advertising the event. The concert was part of a birthday party for all of the residents born that month, so the choir ended their set with “joyeux anniversaire”. The residents reciprocated by delighting us with a rendition of a traditional Normandy song.

Afterwards, we headed off to the pool to let off some steam by splashing about, plunging down the slide and playing ball. Then we headed up to the seaside town of Courseuilles-sur-Mer for some dinner. Our restaurant had a fantastic view of the sea and we watched the sun go down while eating crêpes for dessert.

Sunny Sunday started with a rehearsal session in the morning, followed by a fun filled trip to Festyland. The singers braved the roller coasters and rides whilst trying not to scream in order to save their voices for that night’s concert!

They sang to an appreciative audience at their joint concert with the local choir. The highlight of the evening being  “you raise me up” with eighty voices, rounded up with a meal in a restaurant just round the corner, tasting some traditional French recipes.

Monday morning came and it was time to leave the accommodation. But beforehand the choir gave a bonus performance of one of their favourite pieces to the hostel staff. Next we hit the road in the direction of Calais for the final performance of the tour.

Singing in a shopping centre was very different to the other venues and it brought new challenges. The choir sang well and aroused the curiosity of  many passers-by who stopped to listen.

The final treat of the tour was a game of bowling followed by free time to go shopping. We had an awards ceremony on the coach while waiting for the ferry before crossing the channel worn out but happy after a musical long weekend.”

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