At the end of October 2008, the choir re-visited Ravensburg in Germany, first visited by us in 2006. Three guest
soloists were preparing to join us — all studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and all in their final year of study - together with two "home grown” soloists
from our own ranks – Emily and Jane
We left Rainhill on Friday morning
by coach for Liverpool Airport. Nice weather triggered a variety of Beatles songs, sung impromptu during the journey. A smooth
"check- in" for the whole party of thirty four and of course, the obligatory "photo call" by the John
Lennon statue, got us all off to a great start.
Two buses and a train later, we
completed one leg of the long journey. We arrived at Ravensburg station and were met
by the Cantiamo Singers who had provided a Champagne reception on the station piazza ... what a fantastic surprise that evening,
checking into the Gasthof Ochsen ( our previous home) and Cafe Bauer (a new venue
— but the same family owners). A good night was had by all and we retired to our rooms tired, but pleasantly
Saturday morning arrived far too quickly for some,but a nice breakfast
and a trip to the traditional market in Ravensburg, revitalised all. A long rehearsal
in the afternoon made sure all was in place for the Concert that evening. We knew the publicity had been extensive —everywhere
we went there were beautifully decorated posters on display advertising the Concert — complete with a line drawing of
St Bart's Church — amazing!!
Arriving for the
Concert there were the usual nerves around from the Choir and the soloists.... especially as a new guest soloist had been flown in that morning from London to replace
the original soprano guest soloist who had contracted laryngitis. Yes — even with an esteemed Doctor in the Choir — if your voice has gone .... it's gone!
A short rehearsal, new Choir uniforms and Choir folders out on display for the first time, saw us processing into the Liebfrauenkirche ( Our Lady's) with some aplomb!! The Concert was marvellous
and very well received. A diverse programme reigned for the evening, featuring the works of Gounod, Vierne, Rutter, Mascagni., Handel, Bach, Schutz, Franck, Tallis, Haydn and Scarlatti. In the audience there were many familiar faces from our previous visit and a special
visit from the Musical Director of Viva Voce, Margarita McCarthy. She and husband Anthony had travelled from Munich to see
the Concert, a long distance by any standard. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and we all felt so
privileged. All the Soloists performed magnificently, so much so that the audience were clapping in between items on the programme,
which is rarely done in Germany —an incredible
response, completely unexpected but graciously accepted.
rapturous applause and feet stomping concluded the Concert, but not until the Parish Priest had spoken some heartfelt and kind words and gifts were exchanged between the two Musical Directors, our very own mercurial Peter Kwater and the charismatic Udo Ruedinger. Post Concert celebrations saw German and English singers and friends chatting and enjoying each other’s
company with lots of laughter and a genuine sense of community spirit.
Sunday morning, and a debut for all of the evocative Mass in G by Franz Schubert saw St Bart's Choir singing with
the Choir from the Liebfrauenkirche Choir — another remarkable experience
never to be forgotten.. Once again the soloists shone through with their stunning performances.
Some sightseeing in Freidrichschafen followed in the afternoon — the town is famous
for the manufacture of Zeppelins. An evening meal celebrating Sharon and Bernard's birthday in Weingarten concluded
a great trip for most of the party. Monday morning saw the return of twenty five of the group. The stalwart nine stayed an
extra two days, visiting Aulendorf and also the beautiful Island of Lindau.
A Choir tour full of unforgettable moments, treasured times for all — We are