Monday, July 21, 2008

Naked in the Leaves

The Thursday night in La Garriga will stay with me for a long time. It’s a small provincial town with some lovely architecture and a small, neat auditorium where the chorus sang with a local male-voice choir who I swear did not have a member younger than 50. They were more tuneful than the ladies had been the previous night, despite clearly lacking any true top tenors. The memorable thing about the night though was just how lovely the people were.

They gave us a tremendous standing ovation, bought all the CDs we had on sale (even our stock of Christmas ones!) and then hosted us to a delicious open-air buffet of local pastries and sangria. As the post-show party got underway, the choirs came together to sing the Catalonian favourite Les Flors de Maig, then they sang us a welcoming song in Catalonian and we returned the favour with a stirring a cappella rendition of Jerusalem. The atmosphere was warm and convivial and my heart really caught in my throat as I listened to them sing; this is what we are about.

The Friday concert was a successful night, although less so, and also very late – a three-hour trip to and from the venue meant we didn’t get to bed until 3am! Even so, on Saturday after packing and checking out, we felt we had to do something other than sit around the hotel, so we spent a few hours in the nearby Blanes; a seaside resort which had the good sense not to run a railway line between the hotels and the beach.

When we finally left for home a chaotic check-in process left me in a grump for the evening but a couple of tunes kept running through my head and tempered my bad mood somewhat; one was the climax of the duet Naked in the Leaves; where the chorus comes almost out of nowhere to a great crescendo in a sequence of beautiful chords, “Impassioned lovers, unafraid, lying naked in the leaves…” The other tune was the trill that seems to have stuck in everyone’s head from Les Flors. All the locals recognised it and, despite the song being a real trial for the boys to learn, they kept bursting into the “Tra la la’s” – even as a group of them were disembarking at Heathrow.

So anyway, I’m almost back to normality (on a course for three days rather than straight back into the office) but am suffering somewhat from the post-holiday blues; missing the camaraderie and the music of the tour.

On the upside we went up to Angel tonight to hear Far From Kansas do the show they are taking up to the Edinburgh Fringe; There’s No Place Like Homo. It was both funny and well sung and, while I do have a few notes to offer to the performers, I shall do it in private having learned from the storm that developed the last time I reviewed an FFK show!

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