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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

Memories of Edinburgh - part 1

For those fortunate enough to travel up to Edinburgh, it must feel like a lifetime ago already! To help relive the wonderful weekend, here is the first of our two wonderful guest blogs all about the our time in bonny Scotland!

"It was time. After all, I'd been working with Oxted inChoir for 4 years and yet had never been on a singing holiday.  Others would sign up for various trips and ask questions about them and my abysmal ignorance would shine through. So, yes it was time and in February I put my name down for Edinburgh 2017.  

Arriving at Gatwick was like a mystery tour, going down to the departure gate and seeing who was there!  We left sunny Gatwick and arrived in rainy Edinburgh – so far, no surprises. We checked into the hotel and went to our rooms and met up again at the Mercat Stage on the Royal Mile for our first performance. The audience gathered and we duly began our renditions.  Then the heavens opened and our audience thinned out.  Fortunately, most of them only retreated to shelter beneath the branches of a convenient tree. More of an issue for Sue Heppell was having to watch the ink of her music run down the page and the ensuing disintegration of her music.  That'll teach her not to obey Sally, who had issued instructions to put music in plastic sheets in case of rain!   

After a buffet supper, it was time to fight our way through the crowds up to the Castle for the Military Tattoo. This was fantastic, there’s no other word for it. From the first sound of the bagpipes and drums bursting into the arena from the Castle entrance through to the final plaintive notes of the lone piper on the battlements, taking in en route displays of dancing from India, Japan and the Faroe Islands (including a burning Viking longship) as well as a re-enactment of the Battle of Culloden – it was spectacular from start to finish.  

Saturday dawned and our performance today was in St Giles Cathedral. This had a very different feel about it. Not only were we wearing the more formal white shirt/red tie, but there were no backing tracks – Mark had to play the piano and conduct us at the same time. Naturally, this was a piece of cake for a man of such immense ability(!); there was one point where he indicated that we were to sing higher/lower by bobbing up and down on the piano stool!   

After this finished, there was time to find a show to watch. There are literally hundreds of performances taking place each day and a quick search of the website makes it easy to pick one.  And there was still time to watch some of the free street theatre before heading back to change for the gala dinner.  

Sunday was our last day and came all too soon, but there was plenty of time left to take in another show or do sightseeing – or both in my case, managing to catch a bus to visit the RY Britannia AND see a show before our final performance back on the Mercat Stage. Mind you, it was close – the Soweto Gospel Choir finished at 15.40 and we were due onstage at 15.45 – but the 10 of us at the show made it by the skin of our teeth! 

This time, the sun shone down on us and our audience was large and seemed to really enjoy it, and all too soon, it was all over and we were on the coach back to the airport.  

So, what was the verdict on my first inChoir Holiday?  Absolutely brilliant and huge fun.  And more to the point, I experienced the novelty of singing to an audience that listened to us from choice and weren’t simply friends and family who had been told to attend!"

- Vivien Parsons, Oxted

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