Our eighth day on tour dawned gloriously, not least because there was nothing in particular to rise for and Sam and I were therefore able to enjoy a much-needed lie-in. After eventually making our way into Davidson with an Uber, Sam unfortunately immediately discovered that he had forgotten all his concert clothing. Ten minutes later, I realised that I had left my gown at home, so we got another taxi (a Lyft this time) straight back to pick up all our belongings, before eventually returning to join other members of the choir at Summit Coffee a mere hour after we had originally arrived in the town centre. We’d been to Summit on a previous tour, but I was pleased to see that they’d added such beverages as a ‘Red-Eye’ (filter coffee with an extra shot of espresso, because obviously we all need that) and a ‘Glacier Gulp’ (chocolate milkshake with espresso, because, again, of course). We had a very pleasant stroll round the extensive grounds of Davidson College – Will Anderson was in charge of navigating, and offered such helpful directions as ‘so the football ground must be…over there!’ (pointing directly at the goalposts a few metres away). We also found a swing, several exciting sculptures, and a wide concrete area which turned out to be absolutely perfect for playing Doris-Ball – do watch the video for Ed’s guide to how to play this unique game at home.
As ever, it was soon time to rehearse for the evening’s concert in the spacious surroundings of Davidson College Presbyterian Church, for which we were joined by around 150 local singers for some items in the programme. Stephen seemed very pleased with the sound of the massed forces – especially the music which also contained parts for brass players! After a hearty supper of meatloaf, a lot of vegetables (we’ve discovered on tour in the USA that it is very important to vegetables wherever you can), cobbler and cake (equally imperative) we returned to dress for the concert, at which point laid-back lay clerk Tom Lowen discovered that he had forgotten his black trousers. An announcement duly went out to the audience, and an anonymous female donor very kindly offered him the use of her spare pair of slacks – amazingly he managed to make them fit (as it were), although they did give him a flared look which is yet to come back into fashion in 2018. Thus attired, we sang the concert to a large and appreciative audience – this was the first time we’d performed Howard Goodall’s Sure of the sky on tour (having recorded it last month) which some attendees clearly found particularly moving. We concluded the evening by retiring to a local hostelry with some other millennial Davidson residents, which we thought would prepare us well for our 5.30am wake-up the next morning.