Day 4 of our tour across the states started earlier for some than others, with a couple of people heading out for an early run across Charleston’s beautiful coast. Luckily for me, the jet lag hasn’t hit too badly, so I engaged in no such worthy productiveness and slept until the rudeness of my alarm wouldn’t relent.
Driving from South Carolina to North Carolina doesn’t sound so far on paper, but the 6 hour journey between neighbour states really drove it home quite how huge the US is – you could drive from London to the west coast of Cumbria in similar time! I’ve been enjoying using the coach journeys to do a bit of reading, but after finishing my last book (My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite – thoroughly recommend!) I was thrilled when we stopped for a coffee break at a Barnes & Noble. Armed with a new novel and snacks (thanks for sharing your hash browns Lissie), we reboarded the bus and carried on our merry way.
Though the weather was fairly miserable, even the rain and sleet couldn’t mask the beauty of the land we were driving though. The freeways are lined with enormously tall trees decked in various autumn shades, and early on in the trip we drove past what I think must have been Lake Marion, which is so expansive we thought for a moment that it might be the sea.
Upon arrival, some decided to have lunch at the hotel, but an small intrepid group took advantage of the hotel shuttle bus and ventured out as far as Whole Foods – a new and very exciting experience for Owain! Full of tofu and cauliflower, we headed back to travel into Duke.
The drive up to Duke University is pretty spectacular – we turned a corner and found ourselves on a wide avenue looking up a hill, with the spire of the chapel dead centre peering over the top. The chapel itself is gorgeous, and walking in it was clear that it would be a really specially place to perform Path of Miracles and Footsteps, for which we were joined by some fantastic singers from the University. Duke also provided some top-rate green room snacks, and upon further exploration we discovered the amazing campus food hall, the likes of which students in the UK can only dream of.
After the concert, it was really lovely to be able to chat to some of our audience members – in particular a group of young vocal students who had travelled 2 hours to come and see Path of Miracles with their choir – we left them planning to ambush their choir director with a score so I think we left a good impression!
-Hannah King (mezzo-soprano Associate Artist)