And finally...

Well, we're all back home safe and sound, and reunited with our luggage!  Now the dust has settled it's time to take stock of what happened, and what we achieved.

Many kuchen were eaten and much bier drunk, but we all remained in control of our faculties well enough to enjoy the experiences on offer.  Leipzig was explored, Colditz and Dresden, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Quedlinburg and Lutherstadt Wittenberg, in the 500th year of Luther's Reformation, were visited - and we even managed to give three concerts!
Audiences abroad are always large and enthusiastic, but those we sang to were the best of the lot!  we had well over 120 at each performance, and the applause was loud and sustained.  Many lovely comments were passed to us at the end of each concert, and even a couple of autographs were sought!

Concert 3: Bad Schmiedeberg

After a day in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, a delightful concert hall awaited us in Bad Schmiedeberg. Part of a spa hotel it is decorated in the German art nouveau, or jugendstil  style. It's unusual for us to perform in a hall on tour, our usual venues are churches. This meant that there was no organ, but a good grand piano instead. We were also able to do some non-sacred music, so the anthems by Barstow and Ireland were put aside in favour of Elgar's From the Bavarian Highlands, of which we did four.
We opened with the Hallelujah Chorus, a hit as usual, and then the unaccompanied Mendelssohn motets. Rosie Asher was a great success with her three musical theatre numbers, and then the Elgar, which went down well. After Byrd's Ave Verumand Gjelo's UbiCaritas we raised the roof to finish with O Thou the Central Orb by Charles Wood. As always, John had to shout to announce our encore!
The audiences have been wonderful on this tour. Not only have they been large (we had about 12…

Food Heaven Or Food Hell........?

As you now know, when we're not singing on a Chandos Tour abroad, we're generally eating or getting up to mischief!

Yesterday in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Stephen the accompanist, John the conductor and myself stopped for some sustenance to fuel our energy levels for our concert later on at Bad Schmiedeberg.

Being terribly fond of tomato soup, I gave in to temptation and ordered the 'tomato soup with a swirl of cream'.

What, in fact, arrived, was a bowl of cream with a swirl of tomato, as you can see!

However it arrived, though, it still tasted delicious, and when eaten al fresco in a town with UNESCO sites all around, and with good friends, it was perfect!

When A Chorister's Not Engaged In His Employment.......

As you would expect of a choir of some fifty plus members, there are a range of trades and skills among our number.

We have teachers, civil servants, engineers, home-makers, even an MEP, singing with us every Tuesday night and on Tour.

One of our number on the Tour, Gwen, informed us after our visit to Colditz (where we heard about the daring attempt by the prisoners at building a glider to fly 16 of them over the perimeter wall) that her brother was also a glider pilot and that she came from a family of fliers.

So, in the true spirit of the Colditz glider, Solihull Chandos Choir is proud to present it's own prototype version of the Leipzig Glider, as constructed by Gwen Badham, made out of a post-it note. Complete with flaps!

They Say An Army Marches On It's Stomach....

An Army may march on it's stomach.

Solihull Chandos sings on Strudel......!!

We've had a wonderful food experience here in is a photo of just one of the delicacies most of us have partaken of! This was purchased and consumed in double quick time by Yours Truly in the gorgeous little town of Quedlinburg, on the way to Huysburg Monastery.

What do we do when we're not 'working'?

Solihull Chandos Tours are not all about singing! Sure, it's the 'tie which binds us', but we also have an awful lot of down time too.

Inevitably, with a large group (we are 64 on this occasion), it can be tricky making sure everyone is 'accounted for', especially in the evenings when there is not a scheduled event/meal, but we try to ensure that everyone who wants to be is taken care of and is never on their own if they don't want to be.

So here are some of our 'chill-ax' moments, taken in Leipzig itself and on our adventures out and about.

The first photo is of a small group of us at the Westerburg Hotel, after our successful concert at the Huysburg Monastery. The second photo is of another group of us in the centre of Leipzig at the Auerbach Keller. See, it's not ALL hard work; we really do abide by the old adage 'All Work And No Play Makes Chandos A Dull Choir'!

Concert 2: Huysberg

The day started with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Quedlinburg, a beautiful medieval place well worth a visit. 
Then it was on to the Benedictine Monastery at Huysberg. We were welcomed by Brother Jacob, and John allowed us one of the shortest rehearsals on record! The acoustic is almost perfect, plenty of resonance without being too "boomy", and Stephen was happy with the organ, and the sightlines - once we'd worked out where to stand.
The afternoon concert was very well attended by over 170 people. Brother Jacob asked them to save their applause until the end. Even so, our opening Hallelujah Chorus provoked much applause, as did Stephen's solo. The rest of the programme went very well, and the applause, when it came at last was deafening! John had almost to shout in order to announce our Rutter encore.
The monks gave us tea, and then, at their invitation, we attended their Vespers and sang Ola Gjelo's Ubi Caritas, a moving and memorable experience. …