Day 4 – Dana Point

 What has been like in California so far.

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I sit down at my amazing host’s house and we contemplate the day. It started with a melancholy note; we realised we would not see the children (similar to our age) of our host family again and goodbyes were already being said after just a couple of days of being here, they made us feel incredibly welcome and I think Anglo-American relations have definitely improved since we landed in LA. Ramzi and Serene…legends!!

A more positive thing that struck me today came after talking to the punters, post gig, at St Edward the Confessor, Dana Point. They were all asking how we are enjoying our time in America; what’s been our favourite part? Where are we travelling to? What’s the best thing about California?

Are you kidding me?

We have just left an Oxford which is partially underwater! It’s been totally grim! Christ Church Cathedral Choir has been catapulted into this paradise world where it is always over 20 degrees, shorts are obligatory and the whole choir has quite amusing sun burn. The locals say it is cold…what!? I don’t understand these people…We’re in heaven…Never mind…It turned out we could at least agree on one thing; English Choral music is phenomenal! The reception we had this evening after our concert was incredible! When a professional choir from Oxford rock up it’s a big deal! Apparently! Something that is a shame about performing choral music in England is that high standards can become taken for granted. The Dana Point Symphony Orchestra is a huge part of this community for bringing good quality classical music to this appreciative community and it has been a pleasure to perform with them this evening.

The concert opened with Zadok The Priest (always a winner) and was followed by a particularly stylish Handel Organ Concerto, played by world-class concert organist, Clive Driskill-Smith. The half was completed with the little known Anthem, I Was Glad, by John Bull (lad). The second half was dominated by Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthems which ends with the famous, Hallelujah Chorus. The audience seemed to appreciate this as they stood in true Georgian style… Dr Darlington addressed the audience afterward with the words, ‘You obviously recognised that tune,’ and the choir finished off the programme with another famous tune, Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Next we travel to LA. We look forward with trepidation to performing in the city which is famous for Hollywood, Die Hard and David Beckham’s departure from Europe. I can only hope that the good times continue…I mean what could possibly go wrong, we’re living the American dream, right?

Thomas Chapman

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