Thursday 14 July 2011

Rock in Ireland 1

We spent a wonderful week in Ireland back in June.  Here is the first of several emails back home from Helen:

Hi All,
Having a good time in Ireland so far.  We had an excellent journey over - only just made it to the ferry, and then the crossing was beautifully smooth, which was great because Aly gets sea-sick.
We arrived at Bailieborough at about 7.15pm on Friday night, and shared a lovely meal in the hotel with all of the hosts, some local clergy, and other choir organisers.
Sopranos and Altos with Roger
On Saturday we spent the day rehearsing with the choir.  The Bailieborough Community Choir is an ecumenical group - Catholics, Presbyterians and Church of Ireland mostly - who meet together most weeks during the year under the direction of Florence Taylor.  Florence used to be the Presbyterian minister here in Bailieborough but has since retired and now returns each week to lead the choir.  They are quite a mixed group, mostly still working, and they sing really well together.  Florence had warned us a couple of months ago that they were struggling with the music, but she has done a great job and they are absolutely fine.  In the morning we rehearsed in the Presbyterian church, and then we moved over the road to St. Anne's, the Catholic church in the afternoon, as that is where we were due to perform.  St. Anne's has an amazingly lively acoustic, which made getting the balance between the backing track and the choir very difficult, but we managed it. 
On Saturday evening we travelled to Pauline's house just outside Bailieborough for dinner.  They have been looking after us incredibly well, with a different choir member that isn't a host having us all round to dinner each day.
Andrew and Devon
Yesterday we drove about 45 minutes to Kilmore Cathedral, which is the Church of Ireland cathedral 4 miles outside of Cavan.  It is quite a small cathedral, but lovely, and we were made very welcome by the dean and the other members of the congregation.  Roger preached, and we sang a few songs during communion which went down really well.  We then went to different houses for lunch, which was great, because it meant that we could meet the members of this congregation, and get to know them, ahead of the performance at the cathedral on Wednesday evening.

The Bailieborough choir at St. Ann's
Yesterday evening we met at St. Anne's for a rehearsal at 7pm and then the performance at 8.30pm.  The timings are so late in order to give the farmers chance to finish their jobs for the day.  We had a wonderful audience who really appreciated the performance.  The choir sang really well and were thrilled with the response.
Today we are having lunch at the presbyterian church before being taken out by a local guide to see the sights.  This evening we are having dinner with Florence, but other than that it is a free day.  Tomorrow will be hard work though, as we are going into three schools, before leading two house groups in the evening.  Roger will take with him Aly and Andrew, and I'll have Devon and Alan with me.
Hope you're all well.

No comments: