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Getting to know you: Q+A with Stile Antico

10 April, 2013

Roving Reporter

Today’s blog comes from our intrepid reporter, Katie!

“Any long trip abroad inevitably involves rather a lot of travel.  This tour is no exception, and today I have made use of the ample time spent sitting in cars, on planes and in airports to reflect a little on my first year of touring with the group.

“My first Stile tour was actually part of my audition, almost exactly a year ago. Since then, I have been to eight different countries, sung in 32 concerts and racked up what feels like a million airmiles.*

“What a difference a year makes: last April I was away from home with eleven closely-knit people I didn’t know, desperately trying to make a good impression on them. (I should have known better than to try to pull the wool over their eyes!)  Now I am privileged to call them colleagues and friends.  Who better, then, to assist me in articulating my thoughts about life on tour than my fellow singers?

“Here’s what they had to say; we hope you enjoy it!”

*N.B. statistical accuracy not guaranteed!

Katie: As the group’s newest member, what are you most looking forward to about touring?
Tom: I think going on a long tour is really the best way to get to know people.  Also, doing lots of concerts very closely together brings a greater level of cohesion, both musically and socially.

Katie: What do you like doing in your free time on tour?
Emma: It’s important to achieve a mixture of having your own down-time and having fun with everybody else.  Things like swimming are good as they’re sociable!

Relaxing at the pool, Mexico

Katie: What are your favourite and least favourite things about being on tour?
Becky: The best thing about it is not having charge of the kids for a few weeks.  The worst thing is missing them for that time!

Katie: What is the nicest hotel the group has ever stayed in?
Helen: We stayed in some amazing places when we toured with Sting, included one six-and-a-half star hotel!  When touring without the company of an international rock star, my favourite was a particularly nice hotel in Mexico, where they served us margaritas by the enormous pool. [see above!]

Katie: Have there been any culinary let-downs whilst on tour?
Ben: Probably the most disappointing dining experience was in Mexico.  The restaurant looked lovely and had a beautiful view, but sadly the cuisine didn’t exactly match up!  We probably should have realised something was amiss when they told us they only had two bottles of wine in the whole place…

Lunch spot in Guanajuato

Katie: How do you beat the boredom of many hours spent in airports?
Amy: Reading, watching rubbish on the iPad and beating people at Contract Whist!

Contract Whist  Contract Whist  Trival Pursuits

Katie: What is your favourite concert venue that you’ve performed in on tour and why?
Andrew: Probably the Chan Centre in Vancouver, which is a brilliant hall.  It’s also the only place where we’ve turned up to rehearse and they’ve asked us what acoustic we’d like the building to have!

Performing at the Chan Centre   Chan Centre

Katie: Where is your favourite place to tour and why?
Matthew: It has to be Spain, for the good weather and beautiful buildings!

       Alhambra

Katie: Do you have an essential item that can be found in your suitcase?
Eleanor: Absolutely – I always take a jar of Marmite with me.  Hotel breakfasts, especially in America, tend towards the very sweet, and the early mornings only start to look bearable after a bagel with cream cheese and Marmite!  (Each to their own! Ed.)

Katie: As a dep who works regularly with Stile, what’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you whilst away with the group?
James: Probably when I was mistaken for someone else by three different people in different cities within a couple of days.  People were looking for my doppelganger all round America!  Very odd.

Katie: What is the worst travel-related disaster that has befallen the group on a tour?
Jim: After a concert in a freezing church in Lanvellec, we were due to get a train to Paris the following morning and get the Eurostar home from there.  Rather unexpectedly, owing to the discovery of some unexploded WWII landmines on the railway route, all trains to Paris were cancelled!  Some braved the expense of a long taxi ride all the way to the capital – for others, this meant a wait at the station in Lanvellec of something like eight hours.

Katie: What do people often forget or leave behind on long tours?
Will: Black concert shirts spring to mind.  We have had to borrow emergency replacements from a variety of interesting sources, including photographers shooting the group and relatives of people attending the concert!

After two flights, we’ve now swapped balmy Connecticut for Winter Storm Walda in Minneapolis: six inches of snow forecast in the metropolitan area on Wednesday evening and Thursday.  At home, that would bring everything to a slippery standstill for days.  We suspect that this city might be better prepared!