Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 22 March 2010

Postcard from Stratford

Saturday saw a very early start for the latest Wiltshire Wailers venture: a trip to the Community Choir Festival at Stratford upon Avon. The venue was where William Shakespeare is believed to have attended school, though we were in the more modern buildings a couple of hundred yards down the road rather than the 'Old School' more familiar to him and today's tourists.

650 singers gathered for a day workshop learning 4 new songs, followed by a quick rehearsal during afternoon tea for the end of day concert where each choir (all 21 of them) was given an opportunity to really show their stuff. Our piece was Delilah, but sung in the style of Welsh rugby fans gathered at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff prior to a game. We'd found it almost impossible to stop giggling during rehearsals as this version calls for lots of drama. Our choirmaster Chris also added some Tom Jones style audience participation as he distributed a number of comedy pants and other underwear to be thrown on stage at the end of our performance. Judging by the overheard reaction after the concert, our choir went down rather well. Wiltshire Wailers has made its mark :)

One of the downsides of using a boys school when around three quarters of the visitors are female are the lack of loos, especially at the beginning of the day when most people descended on the venue at around the same time and after similar lengths of journey. Faced with a very long queue we decided to commandeer the gents loos alongside. The coast was confirmed as clear prior to our entry, however it wasn't once we'd finished and came out of the cubicles. No-one had kept 'cave' for us whilst we were in there and a number of men were doing their stuff at the urinals. I think they were a little more surprised than we were!

From a gardening perspective an added bonus to the day was the opportunity to visit the walled Great Garden (open to the public and free) across the road from the school. Luckily the rain stopped just long enough over lunchtime for a quick visit.

As you can see there's plenty of Yew and Box, clipped into a mixture of organic and more formal shapes. The borders were only just beginning to show signs of greenery, but there were plenty of bulbs on view, especially in the lawn. There were also dramatic sculptures: each one representing a Shakespeare play complete with quotation. The pictured sculpture represents Macbeth. The garden was a pleasant spot to grab some fresh air after spending all morning in a school hall, especially when a friendly blackbird posed for his photo just before it was time for us to head back for the afternoon's session.

Sadly there wasn't time to explore the delights of Stratford so familiar to me from my childhood visits. However, NAH has agreed we should go there for the day very soon :)

Update: See our performance on YouTube! The link takes you to a later post where I've embedded the video.

5 comments:

  1. It sounds fun, VP, and must have been. The tossing of undergarments sealing the deal of making your group memorable. I know Stratford is a huge tourist draw, the box and sculptures look interesting. Glad NAH will take you on a return visit. Very kind of him, he sounds like a keeper. :-)
    Frances

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  2. there is certainly a lot of movement in the hedges! so many waves & flows..congrats on the positive audience reaction;)

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  3. Just attended Bach's Mass in B Minor and at the intermission, noted the same thing about loos. The women's restroom line resembled a theme park line. The men's went quickly. As one woman in line suggested: They should plan three women's restrooms for every one men's room.

    I heartily concur.

    Christine in Alaska

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  4. Glad it went well, VP - sounds as though you had a fun time, apart from the loos!

    And on the subject of loos and knowing you support Water Aid, I wondered whether you've heard about this?

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  5. Frances - yes it was a lot of fun :)

    Petoskystone - thank you!

    Christine B - perhaps we need more women planners and builders and then the problem would be solved!

    Juliet - we spoke about that (your link) at choir on Monday because it was World Water Day that day. And we also sang some of our Water Aid fundraising songs to celebrate.

    ReplyDelete

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