Today has been a mixture of work and play for the choristers. Having familiarized ourselves with a new breakfast set-up (treats at this hotel include a pancake station and Japanese food), we had the privilege of heading down to the garden room by the hotel lake for a morning rehearsal. The boys were put through their paces by Dr Darlington, with plenty of warm-ups and a few corners that needed to be worked on with the next concert in mind. This must surely rank as one of the most exotic places to have hosted a Christ Church chorister rehearsal!
Straight afterwards the boys got their dearest wish – to head for the roof-top swimming pool. This provided the perfect counterpoint to the serious morning rehearsal, with the choristers free to submerge, perform hand-stands and impersonate sharks at will in the deep blue water. Following a quick lunch from Subway (home comforts once again), we hopped onto a coach and headed for the Pearl River and Shamian Island, a historic site which was formerly a hub for foreign traders. We took in the atmosphere of another era as we wandered through the quiet, tree-lined streets, surrounded by colonial buildings including a picturesque Catholic chapel, banks, schools and former consulates. The boys spotted an area filled with exercise apparatus on the main street, which soon had everyone energetically engaged despite the humidity. Everywhere we go, people are friendly and curious to know where we come from. Passers-by often make requests to take pictures (see photo), and – since choristers are not camera-shy – this can make our progress down the street rather slow!
The boys spent the rest of the day pursuing their favourite down-time activities; swimming and eating (burgers in the hotel this time). Everyone is very much looking forward to performing in Guangzhou Opera House tomorrow, and to cracking on with concert number three.