Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Royston Priory Singers in York

Over the weekend we went up to York, where we sang four services in the Minster, and it was simply lovely. What a wonderful building; what a superb city!

Jenny and I set out early, so as to have lunch there, but were even earlier than expected, as the RAC route planner lied to us! 160 miles took only 2 hours 30, not 3 hours. Actually, I should have been able to work that out myself, but didn't engage brain at all! Fortunately, the Park Inn Hotel was willing to check us in early, so we could get that bit out of the way immediately.

I'd looked online for eateries, and The Living Room, which turns out to be a chain but of which I'd never heard, was just around the corner. It was slightly pricey, but the food (we both had eggs benedict) and service were so good, we went back for lunch the next day!  Jen had chicken caesar salad with bacon, while I had an extremely delicious slow-roast belly of pork on black pudding, rosemary and apple mash.  Yum!  Low cholesterol, of course!

The singing went well and we were pretty pleased with ourselves , receiving many compliments from members of the audience congregation.  The lower orders of clergy were very friendly and welcoming, but the higher echelons were distinctly snooty.  No doubt they didn't want to dirty the hems of their frocks by associating with us.  One of our sopranos also sings in another choir which has been to York, and she says they got much the same reception.  It would be nice to go back, but the look in the big knobs' eyes says it won't happen.

Somthing else noteworthy was that we were slightly short of tenors, so Phillip, one of the first bases, was elevated temporarily to exalted tenori status.  This was a cruel thing to do, as Phillip lives on the other side of the country and wasn't able to get to any rehearsals, so Saturday was his first sight of what he was going to sing.  As a headmaster and sometime organist, his musicianship skills are much better developed than mine, and he really did well, but even so, it was a bit of a struggle for him.  I tried to turn and sing towards him, to help all I could, and some of the time he was just a fraction behind me, which is what you'd expect.  I was deeply impressed, though forgot to say so in the scramble to get away after Sunday's evensong.  (A scramble only because, with evensong at 4 it was 5.30 before we actually left York, and we wanted to get home in time to hit one of the restaurants for dinner.)


Jennyta said...

What a shame about the lack of welcome in certain people - all in the name of Christianity of course!
My memory of visiting York Minster was going from college with a loud-voiced friend who announced in stentorian tones, "Just think, Jenny, this used to belong to us once!" (Us being RC)I will leave the reaction of those within earshot to your imagination. ;)

Rob Clack said...

I can just imagine!

It's a long time since I've been to York and I'd forgotten about the strange grey window in the north transept. I need to read up about that.

The east window was completely covered up with a huge photograph of it, as it's being completely restored. Old repairs are being removed and replaced with new ones which match the mediaeval original colours better and which are also scored across and signed so they can be easily identified in future.