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10 November, 2019

Never too cold for ice cream!

Emma takes up the story of our US travels as we reach the beautiful state of Vermont.

“After a fairly late end to the evening (at least by our body clocks) it was a little painful to get up early for a day involving 2 flights, a drive, a rehearsal and a concert. However, all the travel went very smoothly, and we had time for a somewhat eccentrically served coffee at the new Delta gates in La Guardia airport.

“The snail’s pace with which the rental company appeared to clean their cars resulted in some stern words, and in my driving a rather larger vehicle than my sensible family Ford Focus. However, if any country is set up for this kind of car, it’s America, and we very much enjoyed the beautiful drive from Burlington to Middlebury, VT. Sadly we are a few weeks too late for the really spectacular autumn colours which can be found in this part of the world, but there is still plenty to catch the attention, and some really stunning mountains in the direction of Canada.

“After checking in to our lovely hotel, we headed over to the Robison Hall in the Mahaney Center for the Arts, on the campus of Middlebury College. We were given a warm welcome to the beautiful hall, and were very grateful to see apples, satsumas and bananas – fresh fruit having been in rather short supply so far on this tour! More importantly, the acoustic was lovely, and the space was ideal for the semi-staging of the finale of the programme (Breaking the Habit), Joanna Marsh’s Dialogo and Quodlibet.

Credit: Aaron Kimball

“We were marvellously fed, with Cara declaring it to be ‘the best-cooked mass-catered beef I’ve ever had’, so our energy levels were well restored for the concert, which was enthusiastically received. Even more enthusiastically received was our encore, Morley’s Now is the month of maying. This isn’t part of our usual repertoire, but we’d been informed that this year is the 80th anniversary of a performance given at the college by the Von Trapp Family Singers, and that piece had featured in their programme. We thought it would sit rather nicely as a nod towards some rather earlier pioneers of our favourite type of music.

Continuing the theme of being well looked-after, we were taken to the town’s pub after the concert where we sampled some local beer(s).

“The next morning was a relaxing one for most of us, with a swim and hot-tub, before some headed out for breakfast in town. Meanwhile Becky and Andrew headed back to the college for an extremely enjoyable workshop with one of their choral groups.

“And so, time to hit the road again in the direction of St Johnsbury, VT. But first…..

“…we couldn’t resist a stop here for a factory tour! Well, all of us except your current author, who is in no way interested in ice cream so is writing the blog instead.”