Welcome to the tour blog for Christ Church’s 2018 tour to the USA; there will be separate posts detailing what the choristers and choirmen get up to over the next eleven days.
We met early in the morning at Albion Place, overjoyed to see each other after having been separated for the previous two days post-Easter. For perhaps the first time ever on a Christ Church Cathedral Choir trip, every single member of the party was on time (despite rumours that choral scholar Aidan Atkinson had in fact initially been under the impression that the tour began on the previous day). We soon found ourselves at Heathrow Terminal 2 for check-in, where tenor lay clerk William Anderson was grilled by airport staff about his travel plans, and, more unusually, his hobbies and favourite celebrity chef (Nigella Lawson, for anyone wondering). After hearty breakfasts (and the making of the below video, which details our hopes and dreams for the tour), we boarded our United Airlines flight to Newark Liberty International Airport; a large number of the choir were delighted to find that they had been unexpectedly upgraded to Economy Plus seating, with lay clerk Edward Woodhouse in particular having an obscene amount of legroom. Eight uneventful hours later, we landed in New Jersey, and, a mere two and a half hours after landing, we boarded the coach to our accommodation – Chris Rocker (our generous tour sponsor) nearly being hit by a bright yellow New York taxi as he flagged down the bus. ‘Don’t Rocker the boat’ remarked a nameless choir member (this is the quality of humour we have come to expect from each other).
As it was now midnight UK time, the boys and chaperones were deposited at St Thomas Choir School, where they will be based for the next few days, while the clerks continued to their accommodation at the House of the Redeemer. Some of our number dashed off to the Metropolitan Opera to see Phelim McDermott’s production of Cosi fan tutte (a show which came highly recommended by Moira Darlington, who had beaten us to the punch by seeing it in the cinema the previous week), others headed out to have their first taste of the nightlife in the Big Apple, but all had (relatively) early nights. Tune in tomorrow for news of our exciting adventures during our first full day in the USA!