Today began with a short walk under cloudy skies and drizzle to an excellent British breakfast buffet served in the Great Hall at Keble College. What a room in which to begin a day. What we first saw when we stepped into the room were three tables stretching into shadowy distance at the other end of the long room. The tables were set with silver and goblets, lit by electric candelabra every few place settings. After breakfast, several singers stepped over to the Chapel and took a few quiet minutes to contemplate the mosaics on the walls. Of particular interest was the famous painting ‘Jesus the Light of the World’. We explored the magnificent acoustic with chant melodies, and rediscovered the harmony that arises in such a space. By the time we boarded the bus, the moisture was lifting though patchy clouds continued to shade us from the summer sun.
Our excursion today took us to Warwick Castle. It was a singular experience to walk up the Mound in the footsteps of William the Conquerer. Inside the castle we found a great many displays spanning the lives of the Royalty that used and adapted the Castle to their liking: knights in full armor astride full-sized horses in the Great Hall; a massive sideboard from a single oak carved with elaborate scenes of Queen Elizabeth I’s life; the luxurious bedroom prepared for Queen Anne (who didn’t come after all); the first running baths. Set aside from most of the bustle, the Chapel was filled with beautiful light and music. A reflective spot.
Mid-afternoon found us rehearsing and going through pre-concert arrangements at St. Mary’s Church of Aylesbury. The small and hospitable crowd enthusiastically welcomed us. The concert was received with happy and emotive faces. Some wept for joy during the encore of our benediction “God Be With You”.
Tomorrow starts another marathon run of travel, concert, and ferry ride back to Dublin. Pray for safe travels and transformative musical connections.