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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

Spain - it's concert time

Today concludes our series of blog posts about our recent trip to Spain, so, without further ado, here is part 3...

Finally we come to the longest day of our tour, and what we really came here for: the visit to the magical Alhambra followed by our concert with our Spanish hosts, Coro con Codo. Firstly, our coach drops us off at the Jardines Alberto restaurant for another five-course blowout that goes on for two hours. Just as we are beginning to flag and skip courses, our waiter says ‘Don’t worry, the next course is meatballs.’  We think he is joking, but he isn’t…..I couldn’t even look at them.

Staggering out into the sunshine we eventually enter the Alhambra gardens and palaces. Nothing has prepared me for the sheer scale and grandeur of it all. I had imagined a palace, a single building, but the Alhambra started as a massive defensive fort built on a hilltop outside Granada. It was referred to in the 10th century but really took off in the 13th century when the founder of the Nasrid dynasty, Muhammad 1, moved his court there. Over the centuries it grew to become the highpoint of Islamic culture in Europe. We are blessed with warm sunny weather as we stroll around awestruck and by 6pm we vow that we will have to come back one day.

Meanwhile, back on the coach and a short journey to our final destination, the Community Centre close to where we’d been the night before. We walk into a modern building, a real theatre with a stage and eventually, a Spanish audience who will be there to judge us! It feels a bit scary but as soon as we meet our enthusiastic host Codo and his lovely, friendly (young!) choir all our apprehension disappears.

The Spanish choir is due to sing first, then it’s our turn and then we also sing together, notably during our Zulu song, ‘Asimbonanga’. We have a run through first: it’s slightly intimidating to be conducted by Codo, especially when he has a different take on what the baritones should be singing. Then Mark takes over, standing precariously on a chair, pulling funny faces at us and we all relax. 

Friday, 23rd February happens to be my birthday and, embarrassingly, I have to stand at the front of the stage, turn and face the choir while they all sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me!  I think that they sang it in Spanish too. Then it’s time to tuck into slices of pizza, quiche and cake and somehow get changed into our inChoir gear. The ladies, who are in the majority, simply take over the Gents and we all muck in together.

The Spanish choir sound very professional, singing a variety of songs mostly a capella, or with guitar or flute accompaniment. Now it’s our turn.  We enter from the wings into the bright spotlights of the stage and we are off, singing our seven English and American pop songs, and ‘Asimbonanga’. Thank goodness, the audience loves it. They especially like our version of the world-wide Carole King hit: ‘Will you Love Me Tomorrow?’ which we sing partly in Spanish.  Then we bring the house down with our finale - a theatrical, operatic rendering of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’.

It all ends emotionally with photographs being taken from the balcony by Martin and lots of hugs and kisses from the Spanish choir. Then there’s more food and drink and conversations with our new friends before we are whisked away on our coach to the hotel to take over the lounge bar for a well-deserved beverage or two.

On the final Saturday morning, Sally is outside as usual, looking at her watch and looking for a coach. Woe betide that coach driver if he should be late!  Miraculously, not one but two smaller coaches arrive on time to take most of the inChoir Spain 2018 contingent to the airport. Some of us are staying on to explore further.  Jane and I wave the coaches off, just as we did in Italy two years ago.  This time we are taking the train back to Seville to fulfil a long-held ambition to see the Alcazar Palace.

We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Tim for writing such a wonderful account for us all. For those lucky enough to be there, we're sure it's brought everything rushing back, and it has enabled all of those who were home in the rain to feel like they were part of this special trip. Thank you Tim!