That Time I Went to See the Queen and Sang in a Big Round Hall.
I don’t know if you know or not, but I just spent a rather wonderful weekend in London. What was I doing there? Oh, just a wee bit singing, wee bit (very bad) dancing, wee bit drinking (for others a lot of drinking) and, nearly forgot, I also made an appearance on the TV. Yes, my ugly mug was on the telly! And I didn’t break any cameras! Result.
I have to say, if you’re headed in a London direction any time soon, just get the train. It’s less hassle, no baggage allowance, and better views out the window. Yes, I know it takes longer, but in my opinion it’s more comfortable and just makes life easier.
I also took my first spin on the Tube on Friday! Londoners really do take that silence on the tube thing seriously. My God, the looks we were getting, they could turn milk sour! We were only trying to figure out where we were going. Calm your twisted knickers, no one’s dying.
We were staying in Lillian Penson Halls, University of London halls or residence, which were pretty nice I have to say, and only a five-minute walk from Kensington Gardens, which are absolutely stunning! We stumbled upon them entirely by accident, but a nice evening stroll through the very fabulous, very fancy gardens before dinner was a wonderful introduction to London.
We finished our day with a fabulous rehearsal with the man who is the one and only … Christopher Bell.
Day Two was all about getting that rehearsal on. The benefit of your rehearsal venue being halfway across the city is that you get an impromptu tour taking you passed quite a few famous places, such as St Pancras Station and the Royal Academy of Music (one day, maybe?). Our venue itself was the LSO St Luke’s, a repurposed church now used as a rehearsal location for the London Symphony Orchestra.
I have to admit, I’m not sure our rehearsal was all that well thought out. NYCoS essentially sat through an entire rehearsal doing absolutely nothing. The boys stood up to sing their bit for five minutes but that was about it. It wasn’t until after the break that we were actually of any use. A rearrange of movements in rehearsal and we could have been elsewhere being more productive rehearsing our bits in another room.
But no matter, we got to see his Genius-ship Sir John Eliot Gardiner at work. So…silver linings and all that.
A little street food lunch from one of the many stalls down Whitecross Street, and it was back for another choral rehearsal. Remind me to stop singing in French, it’s just more hassle than it’s worth. So many weird vowel sounds! Why?! (Just kidding, I love french, don’t take it away from me, please!)
Friday evening was rehearsal free, so I had time to explore. A fellow NYCoSian Alicia lives not far from London and knows it pretty well, so she offered to show me around. I got a private, personal tour of London guys! I saw pretty much all the main sites in one night! I’ll do a separate post on my tour, as I took so many photos they’re just not going to fit in this post. But again, I thank Alicia for my tour, it was fab!
A nice wee lie in was in order on Saturday morning, I had walked around about seven miles the night before, don’t you go judging me! I like my bed. Breakfast was required and acquired from Starbucks (very imaginative I know) before a meet up with Steve and David in Kensington Gardens for a gab before call at 1.15.
Guys, I have never been more excited in my life! I was singing at the Royal Albert Hall! It has been a dream of mine to perform in a BBC Prom for years, and I’ve done it! I have actually been in a Prom, and rehearsed, and sang, and performed at the Royal Albert Hall! Oh. My. GOD!! That actually happened! I’ve prommed!!
Sorry, lost it for a moment there. My bad. Anyway…rehearsals were amazing, wandering around in the Hall, which doesn’t actually seem as big when you’re performing as it does when you see it on TV.
You can always notice a change in NYCoS when we actually rehearse in the performance venue, it just becomes electric. Something switches us on, and that’s just amplified another level on top when you put an audience in front of us. It’s just an incredible energy that flows through us. It’s been said before that NYCoS is one of the best choirs in the world, and I wholeheartedly and truly agree. There is a sound produced by this choir that is just something I’ve never heard before, it sends a chill down the spine and brings a tear to my eye. I am so lucky to be a part of this incredible organisation, I have made lifelong friendships here, and strengthened ones already in existence, and I hope that my time in NYCoS has many years left.
In true NYCoS fashion post concert we found ourselves in a pub. Now there’s a surprise, eh? Some eejit missed a chance here. The entirety of NYCoS descended on the one pub, the entirety, and yet we were told that there were not enough of us to keep the bar open past closing. Numpties. In the past NYCoS has been known to drink a pub dry after a concert! There was a huge profit missed there…but no matter. We even managed to fit a Great NYCoS walk into the evening, with a huge troop of NYCoS charging its way around London in search of food, more alcohol, and for a great number of dafties who hadn’t planned ahead, a toilet. Yes, apparently, NYCoS needs to be given specific times to pee, or we forget, and then end up shit creek without a paddle in desperate need of the bathroom without a toilet in sight. We’re supposed to be the grown up choir. Oh dear.
Worry not, toilets and food were found. We were fed, sobering up, and up early the next morning. It’s always pleasant when you set an alarm for the next morning and it tells you the alarm is set for two and a half hours from now. Really nice, great feeling. Truly enjoying that *cries into coffee the next morning*
All in all, my first ever trip to London was a pretty all round success: the weather was good, the company was great, and I fulfilled a dream of performing at the BBC Proms!
P.S I nearly forgot, ladies and gentlemen, I need to introduce you to Jean-Luc! Fellow NYCoSian Ellen purchased him last year on our NYCoS trip to France, and he now accompanies her to any and all NYCoS events, and is quickly becoming a NYCoS mascot!
Nous aimons Jean-Luc!