The Phoenix 2019 Concert Tour
44 Phoenix Singers set off on May 27th for a 5 day Concert Tour to the magnificent Middle Rhine region of Germany. The group stayed in Rüdesheim which is the start of the UNESCO World Heritage designated area of historic towns, cities and the Romantic castles we all associate with Rhine cruises. The party had a packed schedule of 3 planned concerts and as many impromptu recitals in churches (acoustic heaven), cathedral steps (it always starts with the group photo), after dinner entertainment for fellow tourists both in the hotel and the various bars and terraces in a newly enlivened and possibly slightly traumatised Rüdesheim.
The pace was set on Day 1 with a post breakfast rehearsal ready for the first concert later that day at the pretty, film-set of a town, Bacharach. A modest but appreciative audience left us with an unexpected and generous donation, the flicker of a smile and a song in their hearts.
Day 2 was the much anticipated and exciting opportunity to sing in Cologne Cathedral. The occasion was made truly memorable by a warm announcement to the many hundreds of international tourists and worshippers of our musical participation in the midday prayers. The photo gathering on the steps afterwards was also our opportunity to showcase our collective joy in singing and the applause from the gathering crowds in response to our spontaneous burst of song was testament to this. A good many of us then rewarded ourselves with a slice of truly decadent cake from the astounding selection offered at the renowned Cafe Reichard in the cathedral square.
Day 3 was more relaxed with a journey to Koblenz, where James investigated the acoustic of the famous Basilica of St Castor and, naturally, called us back early by using our new fangled WhatsApp group communication network, to experience it ourselves. A relaxing cruise in the sunshine and increasing temperatures from Boppard to St Goarshausen completed the day’s outings but there was more to come. We serenaded a group of American visitors who were on their last day of a 17 day tour of WW2 battle sites. There was an emotional and warm response to our stirring performance of American Trilogy and Going Up A Yonder. All the remaining CD’s brought with us were bought and good memories made.
Our final day was a scheduled concert of lighter repertoire in the Kurhaus Pavilion at the spa resort of Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg. A standing ovation and huge appreciation from a large and enthusiastic audience was the best final memory of the tour.
We waved farewell to Rüdesheim the following day with fond memories of the local Rüdesheimer coffee, flambéed at the table and served in a ceramic goblet, of the many local fine wines from the thousands of acres of vineyards cladding the valley, of castles, of thermally challenged churches and a fondness for paying tribute to music from that heyday of dance, the 70’s. Oom-pah-pah!