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Gibbons in Orlando

15 March, 2014

Unlikely place for early music? Here’s Ben with a round-up on a great day in Florida… and some bad puns.

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Palm trees are always a good sign

“Since the first snowy stop in Boston the excitement had been growing about the potential for a bit of seaside fun in Florida, and when we finally arrived yesterday it didn’t disappoint. After landing in Orlando we drove straight to Cocoa beach. Some of the more shark-averse singers rolled up their trousers and went for a paddle, while a heroic group of four got the swimming costumes out, braving the treacherous waters and the embarrassment of revealing pasty skin tones in front of tanned surfers. It’s not often you can take a swim in the sea before a concert so we were pretty pleased with ourselves.

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Tom, Eleanor, James, Jim

The beach vibe continued into the pre-concert rehearsal with lots of smiles and sun-burnt noses. There was widespread relief that our rehearsal scheduler, Emma, had had time to top up her tan – it’s one of her favourite activities and without it she might not have been so lenient on us. It was very nice to have a special guest listening in on the rehearsal – Margery Bollinger, who recently turned 108!

The relatively dry acoustics of St Mark’s church were definitely the most challenging of the tour so far, having performed in bigger churches up to that point. Having said that, we often talk about the Byrd mass being more at home in less resonant spaces, so arguably it was a good thing, even if it wasn’t quite so easy. You could say it was better for some of the more florid(a) lines.


Action shot of James on the phone. Lovely sunset just before concer

The food laid on before the concert was lovely, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and it was the icing on the cake (best I can manage at this stage) to sing to a big, appreciative audience.”

For the final concert of the tour we’re returning to the impressive St Louis basilica later today – looking forward to it!