Days 5 and 6: Delightful Davidson and chilly Chicago

This morning I ‘awaked as one out of sleep: and like a giant refreshed with wine’ [Psalm 78: 66], only I am certainly not a giant, and the wine hadn’t really ‘refreshed’ me – quite the opposite. I was dismayed to discover that I hadn’t written a blog post when I got home, and thus I would like formally to apologise to this blog’s regular readership (both of you), and simply promise that I will make it up to you with fresh levels of detail, biting analysis, and a healthy serving of mildly-relevant biblical quotations.

We are now at the end of Day 6, but I shall begin by recounting a tale or two from Day 5: the one that got away. We awoke in Davidson, North Carolina to a beautiful sunny day, with temperatures hanging nonchalantly around 23 Celsius and the sun kindly bestowing a red glow on the fair skin of a choral scholar or two. Many of us took a few minutes to look round the Davidson Farmers’ Market, where one could buy all manner of things, from lettuce to livestock, bird-feed to beef fillets. None of it would have travelled well in a suitcase however, so no purchases were made. As we had the morning free before an afternoon rehearsal, we explored more of the town, some buying souvenirs, some watching the Liverpool game in a sports bar, and some opting for a quiet coffee and some emails in one of Davidson’s many cafes.

image Brickhouse Sports Bar

Then followed a rehearsal in the beautiful and spacious Presbyterian church on the campus of Davidson College, where we looked at some pieces which were new for this concert, and polished up repertoire that we had covered already. The show was to be broadcast live on WDAV radio (see previous post), so the pressure was on, and we had the additional excitement of being joined by two local choirs and a brass band for Vaughan Williams’s ‘Old Hundredth’ and Walton’s ‘Coronation Te Deum’. It was good fun meeting these local musicians, and becoming part of a huge chorus for a couple of numbers in the programme. The large audience that came to the concert seemed very much to enjoy themselves, and they were particularly delighted to see Stephen clamber up on to his very tall and somewhat precarious podium to conduct the instrumental pieces!

image Christian’s organ practise in Davidson

After the concert, a handful of us decided to sample some local nightlife, and enjoyed some drinks in Kindred bar and restaurant, which comes very highly recommended should any of you find yourself in Davidson with a free evening. But don’t go if you’re intending to write a blog post afterwards.

Day 6, and the North Carolina sun greeted us once again, further ‘lending radiance to them that endured in the heat’ [Salisbury Diurnal], and we had a few hours for lunch in Davidson before hopping on the bus to transfer to Charlotte airport, where we boarded a tiny plane that would take us to Chicago, Illinois. After a short flight, we landed (on one wheel, to begin with..) at Chicago O’Hare. After an hour-long wait at the airport, whilst our bus was held up by a car on fire – yes really – we took the coach to Emmanuel Church where we were met by hosts. Now we head to bed and look forward to a day of sightseeing in this beautiful but chilly city, and our third concert of the tour tomorrow.

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