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Music tour in Paris

Mission: give all the students of a high school music department a taste of being a real musician.

Status: accomplished!

Key components: one city, two tour managers, three venues, four days, five performances, seven drivers, thirteen staff and one hundred and nine young musicians from the American School of London

Detailed breakdown:

IMG_0383Day 1 was a travel day.

It was fairly easy journey with little traffic and a smooth ferry crossing.  Arrival in time for a group briefing, a buffet dinner and an early night (for some!)

Day 2 was a day of many performances.

A 0530 wake-up call and a 0700 departure was what was needed to reach the other side of the city by 0900. Our hosts, the American School of Paris welcomed us in to set up ready for the first concert at 1000. The third of three school assemblies culminated in the choristers of ASL and ASP coming together for a joint piece.

As if that wasn’t enough music for one morning. ASL squeezed in some rehearsal time for their grand finale piece for the evening performances before packing up and having lunch.

IMG_0359In the afternoon the coaches took us into Central Paris, we soaked up the sights on the way to our destination of the Eglise Notre Dame des Blancs Manteaux in the 4th arrondissement. Rehearsals and preparations all afternoon transformed the church into the set of a collage format concert.

The audience members started to arrive and ponder where to sit as musicians were all around them in the four corners of the church and pews were en travers, facing inwards. By 2030 there was a full house and standing room only as the baton came down for the start of the first piece.  The concert was a great success with music flowing seamlessly around the church passing between orchestra, choir, concert band and an array of smaller ensembles. By the time of arrival back at the hotel that night everyone was tried but proud of their accomplishments, looking to build upon them the next day.

Day 3 was for the final concert.

A leisurely morning was welcomed by all and a 1030 departure gave us time enough to arrive in the Northern suburbs of Paris in time for an early lunch. Once feed and watered we made the final leg of the journey to Enghien les Bains. The spring weather brought out the best of this lake-side spa town and those who weren’t needed at the rehearsal could go and explore or chill out with an ice cream.

Our venue was the splendid and recently renovated church of St Joseph – another beautiful church with the space to allow the collage concert. The support from the local community and feature on idfm radio brought in a good crowd to hear the musicians excel themselves for another fantastic performance.

Day 4 was the journey home.

Despite a spot of Sunday evening  traffic we all made it back in one piece. Each person got something slightly different out of this music tour but everyone had a great experience.

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