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Of piety and pie

7 April, 2013

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Will clearly enjoyed our day in New Haven, CT!

“Aside from a really wonderful concert in the pretty-much-perfect space of the Marquand Chapel at Yale, day three of the tour proper provided great pleasure with the first hints of a road trip, and the first meal out as a group.

“Rather than deal with public transport, wherever possible we prefer to hire three chunky MPVs and hit the road.  Not only is it generally a cheaper option, it also gives us a bit more freedom to base ourselves at hotels slightly off the beaten track.  It also give us a chance to see some of the glorious views on the ground that this beautiful country has to offer, not to mention being able to wind the window down and enjoy some good, non-airconditioned air…

“As someone who normally drives a smaller car with only 2 seats, getting to grips with the enormity of an MPV at the same point as remembering to drive on the other side of the road, and quickly interpret all the nitty gritty of US road signage can be a bit of a challenge.  We try not to be an international liability on the roads, but every now and then, parking brakes are left on for several miles, one way streets are encountered in a more than inappropriate direction, and sat navs are unplugged at that crucial moment, so the journey is never dull.  The driving legs on this particular tour are much shorter than usual – the two hour journey today was about as long as it gets, so the usual notion of us individually providing playlists to be shared around each car hasn’t been necessary.  Instead, various Stile types back in the UK were subpoenaed to provide questions for a quiz, which was tackled with great gusto by all.  Thanks to Olly, Twes, and Kate for coming up with the goods, particularly to Twes for having the imagination to base his questions on English Cathedrals, and Football.  Individual!

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“We arrived in New Haven at around 1pm, and made our way to the Marquand Chapel at Yale, quickly reacquainting ourselves with the building, before our 5pm concert.  The Institute of Sacred Music at Yale is a truly exciting place to be, with world class facilities, and a faculty that is the envy of several other institutions around the world, so it’s a real privilege for us to perform there.  We last visited in 2009, and have particularly special memories of singing Byrd in the chapel.

rehearsal

“The chapel is a wonderful place in which to perform – highly appropriate for our blend of intimate consort singing and blessed with a responsive and honest acoustic.  The audience were of an excellent quality and quantity, occupying every available space, with many standing in the organ gallery at the back, and it was great to meet several of them, including a few of the choral conducting students after the concert.  As you can probably tell, it was a hugely enjoyable afternoon for us all.  Here we are, modeling the gifts that the ISM gave us on our arrival:

tshirts

“One of the major advantages of the earlier start time to the concert, was that we then had time to go out for a meal as a group.  On our previous visit to New Haven, we ended up with breakaway party (including me) foolishly heading for a curry, whilst the majority headed to what turned out to be a a truly life changing ‘tomato pie’ experience.  So, not to make the same mistake twice, this time we all headed back to the famous Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria for what turned out to be quite a meal…    Now, let’s be frank.  Andrew, Matthew, and I went more than a bit crazy, and completely misinterpreted the sizes of pizza, and each ordered something that we didn’t have a chance of finishing.

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“The entire table was covered in the tastiest pizza I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring, and it was a difficult decision to know when to stop!

Decline and Fall

“I’m still utterly sated as I write this, several hours later – if you’re ever in New Haven, you’ve just got to try their pizzas for yourself.

“The road-trip continues in the morning as we make the short journey to Westport to spend a few days there.  We’re looking forward to our first visit there, and to meeting you if you’re coming along – do come and chat to us after the concert today!”