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It was a great honour for the Choir to be asked to perform pieces by Bruckner (from one of our CDs) in the Krakow Music Festival as their main attraction, and also a rare opportunity for us all to have a jolly trip away together. (Of course none of us is on speaking terms any more, but it was worth it). So now Claire has asked me to write a little piece for you about our trip, otherwise entitled ‘Fourteen Go To Krakow for approx 18 hours, Sing a bit, Eat a lot and Sleep a very small amount indeed’. And there was some shopping too.
Krakow is a delightful city, a far cry from the Eastern European cities of old with their tired buildings and world-weary citizens. Here we saw some wonderful architecture, beautiful cobbled streets and large bustling market squares filled with cheerful people, and a highly efficient tram network (residents of the Croydon area were delighted).
Our hotel was right in the centre, a few hundred metres from the Church where we would be performing. An exceptionally early start and subsequent delay in Munich meant that we were doubly grateful for the delicious lunch that had been laid on for us upon our arrival. After that, it was time to get to work. The interior of the church was quite extraordinary - vivid coloured paintings from biblical scenes to huge flowers adorned every wall in this huge building. With vast vaulted ceilings, the acoustic was fantastic (ie we were a little deafening at times!), allowing us to explore a vast range of dynamics in our music-making.
After making sure that all was in order, we had a few hours to explore, shop (there is an outside chance that handbags were bought), use the one word of Polish that Helen tried to teach us (although Jeremy learnt something else - that the Polish for ‘kebab’ is ‘kebab’) and rest before the concert.
The atmosphere for the concert itself was wonderful - the church was full and they had set up a lighting display which changed the ambience every few minutes. I may be biased, but I thought that our performance displayed some of the best singing that the choir has ever done. Robert conducted masterfully and Ben Bayl played magnificently (and survived the extremely long walk between the chamber organ he played to accompany us, and the main console from where he played his 2 solo numbers) and the audience seemed thrilled.
Another meal was laid on for us afterwards and then it was sleep for a few hours (for some of us at least) before getting up to leave at 5am, tired but still triumphant. Some lusty singing on the bus from Messrs Jordan, Tebb and Budd helped speed us to the airport.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and hopefully we will be asked to go back to this delightful city again.