Yesterday evening I was in Yorkshire, helping at a rehearsal with Cantores Salicium, a chamber choir of about 20 or so singers based near Long Preston. I was rather taken aback a few months ago to be approached to become President of this choir, but I accepted, and this was my first chance to meet most of the singers. Their conductor, Lindy Williams, is somebody I know well, and I know various other members of the choir through certain musical endeavours, but yesterday was the first time I have been let loose on them as a group. We rehearsed some Haydn, Vittoria, Philips and O’Neill (Sweet Was The Song of course!) and had a lively time working on small details and making music together. The sound the choir produces is really fine, and the tuning is spot on, although I hope I haven’t jinxed it by saying as much to the choir. Maybe it’s something to do with the northern air.

Naturally, as soon as I crossed the border into Yorkshire the heavens clouded over and the wind picked up, so it seems as though our Indian summer is over. I forged ahead with a little bit of orchestration on the train on the way up, and used other half hour stretches to rest my eyes, as they say. The return journey was hellish, however. The 0802 from Long Preston overshot the platform, supposedly because the track was slippery, but it just looked as if the driver had forgotten to stop. There the train stood, forlorn, about 100 yards down the track, while a chap I assume was the driver leapt out and made a call to the signalman. Once the all clear was given the train backed up, let the passengers on, and then continued on its way but, as is the way of these things, the delay accumulated as the journey continued, exacerbated by a 15 minute pause at Skipton while chaps with badges got on, got off, got on and then got off again. By the time the train arrived at Leeds I had missed my connection and the train after that. Let the train take the strain, I don’t think.

I used the second leg of the return journey (itself delayed by 15 minutes) to plough ahead with some more orchestration work, having tinkered with harmonies more or less to my satisfaction yesterday, and then did some tutoring and playing work, including a service at Dick Whittington’s church for the Worshipful Company of Innkeepers. No room for O’Neill compositions in this inn, however.

As a final thought, it is good to see that this blog is picking up a little momentum and has now surpassed the 200 view mark, which can’t be bad for something only gently publicised and recently begun. Clearly it is not going to pick up the same number of readers as something written by a celebrity (a word which has strayed some way from its original meaning), but it is better than publishing on the web and picking up only a cyberecho. Greetings to those of you in Northumberland, France and New Zealand, and to everybody else too and I’ll let you all know when we hit the 1,000 mark!

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