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High Spirits in St Louis

16 March, 2014

Our final concert, in St Louis, MO, took place in perhaps our most stunning venue yet – the vast Basilica Cathedral.


Having performed the programme five times already, we limited our rehearsal to an hour or so, giving us time for a relaxing lunch in sunny Missouri. Some of us were more relaxed than others – poor Tom waited in vain for his bag at the luggage carousel on arrival from Orlando. A lost bag is always a pain, but a lost bag containing music and suit on a concert day is a disaster. Fortunately it arrived and was driven straight to the cathedral, arriving at 8.02pm. Unfortunately, the concert was due to start at 8pm, but Tom managed a record-breakingly quick costume change and the show went on!


The generous acoustic and enthusiastic audience proved the perfect end to the tour. It was rounded off with a fantastic party hosted by the concert presenter, John Russell, and his partner Daryl at their grand apartment on the 25th floor of the iconic Art Deco Chase Building, with views overlooking the whole city.


James talks to one of our hosts

At midnight we returned to the hotel for our traditional final night “Fines” party. This is where miscreants are made examples of, with shots being dished out for every misdemeanor. Heads were even more sore than usual this morning since it was a ‘rollover’ Fines Party – the fines from the previous US trip (October 2013) being added on to the (lengthy) list for this tour! Selected highlights of ‘crimes’ include:

  • Eleanor’s unfortunate Spoonerism when instructing the Vermont audience to listen out in Byrd’s Vigilate for the “cocking of the crow”.
  • Tom, our resident Australian, living up to his home nation’s reputation by being the first Stile member to be pulled over by ‘the feds’ and receiving a speeding fine.
  • Jim, for pointing out a particularly amusing name on the church roll just before we were about to go on stage in Jackson, leaving James in paralysis with laughter and almost unable to hold it together for the first piece.
  • Tom, for a mysterious incident involving a broken toilet flush just as we were about to go on stage in Florida.
  • Becky, for flirting with the idea of giving up wittering for lent, and then deciding not to, much to everyone’s disappointment (we love you really Becky).

Since this tour was in Lent, there were a few non-drinkers, so forfeits were provided in lieu of spirits. Will, reading out the last three SMS messages he received proved very revealing, and I don’t think any of us will forget the sight of Becky attempting ten pushups in a hurry. It took some time….

All in all, a great end to another action-packed US tour. Next stop, Wigmore Hall!

A rare behind-the-scenes shot of the blog editors in action at the bar on Cocoa Beach