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USA Tour 2015

USA Tour Reflections

Posted on 3 November 2015

A mathematician’s reflection:
Miles travelled: 12,500
Of which on ground transport: 1,800
Flights taken: 6
Number of bags lost: 0
Crossings of timezones: 8
Number of days off: 1
Girls who cried: 9 out of 9
Gallons (US) of coffee consumed: 48
No. games of bananagrams: countless
Birthdays celebrated: 2
Number of voices lost: 0.5
No. top Cs nailed by Emilia Morton: all of them!
Longest echo: 8 seconds
Concert venues which experienced a blackout: 2 out of 8.
No. flat tyres: 1
No. concerts almost missed: 1
No. standing ovations: 100%

Rosemary Galton (with research assistants Hannah Cooke and Emilia Morton)

So here we are at the end of the tour already. Where did all the time go? Well, to be honest we didn’t have much of it. This tour was one spent on the road, in the air, and in concert venues, with occasional brief stops in hotels and little time for anything else. We had been looking forward to this one with excitement and trepidation at the, what can only be described as, crazy schedule. It has been exhausting and emotions have been that much more intense as a result of our tiredness. Maybe that’s why these concerts have turned out to be some of the most emotionally charged I have ever been lucky enough to be involved in. There has been a wide range of venues with an even wider range of acoustics from the magnificent Cathedral Basilica of St Louis to the crystal clear concert hall at JMU, oh and the Orpheus brewery in Atlanta but our program held up to even the toughest of them and was received with a standing ovation every time, although to be fair, in the brewery they were already standing – no seats. As always in America we’ve been well looked after. I especially enjoyed the evening we spent with the Skylark Ensemble at their artistic director’s house, Matthew Guard, in Atlanta; and singing ‘When I’m 64’ at Tony Fathman’s (one of the concert’s sponsors) place in St Louis. All in all, it has been wonderful to spend such an intense couple of weeks in the company of Victoria, Brahms and Bruckner and to share the experience with a truly great group of friends – Tenebrae.

Steve Kennedy

One of the aspects of touring that is often forgotten about is what happens to us when we come home again. It can be a bit of a shock to the system to realise that your days no longer consist of: get up very early; drive or fly for several hours; rehearse; do a concert; sleep. The prospect of doing endless amounts of laundry and cooking all your own meals looms large. So to ease the pain of the inevitable upcoming jetlag, I have come up with a little list of just a few things about being on tour with Tenebrae that I will miss in the coming days:

  • certain tenors (and conductors!) getting very competitive playing ten-pin bowling
  • the stunning venues and appreciative audiences
  • our illustrious General Manager’s dancing
  • the pre-6am starts (just kidding)
  • wondering whether we’ll make it through a concert without all the lights going off
  • Ellie Minney’s excellent quizmastering skills
  • the ‘super music’ and wonderful people!

– Katie Schofield

When I was interviewed for my role almost a year ago, Richard Savage (Tenebrae bass, trustee and all round top chap) told me that Tenebrae is the best choir in the world. Having worked with Nigel and our motley crew of singers for the last 10 months, I have no doubt that is the case. They are such a talented and committed group of musicians; our STL Today review captures it perfectly: “A concert by the British choir Tenebrae is more than a performance. It’s an experience that envelops the audience.”

Personal highlights include ‘Christus factus es’ – such a dramatic work which consistently captured our audiences – and when Nigel and Gabriel rolled back the years to enter their “King’s Singers mode” to perform ‘When I’m 64’ at Skylark Ensemble’s gala.

This tour would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our US agent Christie Starrett and artistic director Nigel Short and I have hugely valued their support and guidance since I have been in position.

All in all, a fantastic USA tour with Tenebrae. Here’s hoping there are many more to come!

Henry Southern (General Manager)

I suspect in years to come my abiding memory of this tour will be how the singers over came so many exhausting practical and boring issues that are alas part and parcel of touring a country as enormous as the USA, to deliver 8 performances of staggeringly high quality but with such positivity and professionalism that was a huge credit to all of them.

Jetlag of course is the first challenge but energy levels were high and the inevitable burst of adrenaline that kicks in when this gifted team of singers set about their work made sure the first concerts set the bar at seemingly impossible levels to maintain for the whole tour. But maintain the level they did, if not actually nudging the bar even higher as we went along. Horribly early starts add to the lack of sleep and quality rest and the constant drying-out effects of air conditioning (which seems to be everywhere in this country:planes, buses, cars, malls, hotels, concert halls and even churches!) starts to make the concerts harder. However, when a group of instinctive ensemble musicians as talented as this bunch see glorious, beautiful and transporting music in front of them something very special happens. The focus and intensity of their music making didn’t diminish for a second, even a gruelling 12 hour bus journey didn’t put them off their stride. Amazing (soooper!) music performed by amazing people to an amazing standard. They so richly deserved the standing ovation they had every single night. I am hugely proud of them and can’t thank them enough for providing me with yet another career highlight. Sensational team.

Nigel Short (Founder and Artistic Director)

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