Over the week-end of 25th - 28th May 2007 the Society Choir enjoyed a visit to France.
66 singers with about 20 partners and friends sailed with Condor from St Peter Port, Guernsey on Friday afternoon. The whole weekend had been organised for us by Onestage, concert tour organisers from Wimbledon, South London, and our party was met by their lovely representative, Sarah, who looked after us for the concert part of the wek-end. After landing at St. Malo in the early evening the party transferred to coaches ready to speed us for an evening meal at l'Auberge des Voyageurs in Tentiniac, later completing the journey to Ibis Hotel, Centre Gare Sud, Rennes arriving just before midnight. Our professional soloists from London, Helen Groves, Alexandra Gibson, Darren Abrahams and Nick Warden had made their own way to the hotel and we met up with them there. The same quartet had sung with us in the same programme in a concert the previous week-end in Guernsey and each is an old friend of the Society.
Saturday morning was free time and many spent an enjoyable time browsing in the wonderful Rennes market and after lunch we set off by coach for the town of Vitre.
The imposing church of Notre Dame in Vitre gave us a great welcome and, with James Henderson finding his way around the organ, we soon got a rehearsal under way. We knew that we were going to have to vacate the church for their mass at 6pm but we also had to make way for a christening before that and that gave us a good opportunity to explore Vitre and find somewhere for a light meal.
We met again at the church at 8.30pm and got changed into concert dress ready for a 9pm start. The church had given us a warm welcome and the cogregations at the baptism and the mass had been greatly encouraged by the priest to come back for the concert.
The good people of Vitre did as they were told and we had a wonderful audience of close to 200 people! The preogramme consisted Mass in G by Schubert and 'Paukenmesse' by Haydn and, with wonderful support ftom James Henderson on the organ and thrilling singing from our four solists we were guided through a magical performance by Helen Grand, conductor.
By 10.45 we were back on the coaches to rennes. Some of our party had, on Friday evening, discovered a large restaurant just around the corner from the hotel and it had been agreed that they would welcome some 50 or so people even at 11pm on Saturday night. Accordingly, nearly everyone made their way to the restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed eating, drinking and partying until the small hours.
Sunday was a quiet start! Lunch was pre-booked at Auberge Lucas in Cardroc and a greeat time was had by all, including our soloists who had stayed on to enjoy the rest of thge week-end although, sadly, Darren Abrahams had another engagement that meant that he had to leave lunch and return to London.
For the rest of us the weekend came to an end on Monday morning with a return coach journey back to St Malo and, because of some rather inclement weather, an uncomfortable crossing back to Guernsey