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“O-H! I-O!”

6 March, 2015

Eleanor shows us all that hard work has its rewards…

“Leaving the others to get even more sunburned in Miami Beach, Andrew and I flew to a snowy Columbus late on Wednesday night. This was so that we could drive to the nearby Oberlin Conservatory of Music the following day. Education work is an important part of our trips to the US, and we were to lead the second of two workshops on our current tour. In DC, Emma and Will coached some talented university students through Josquin and Pearsall, and now it was our turn to work on a beautiful piece of Parsons, hitherto unknown to both of us. It was a delight not only to be introduced to this piece, but also to work with a group that possessed such strong ensemble skills. Working on ensemble usually takes up a large proportion of our time in such workshops, but here we were free to move straight on to the finer nuances of interpretation. It was also interesting to learn a bit about the students in the ensemble, who despite their talents are not primarily vocalists, but rather specialise in a diverse range of practices within the liberal arts (for my fellow Brits, that term encompasses both humanities and sciences).

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“Following the workshop, we were taken for a meal in the very fine Black River Cafe, before braving the roads once again. Since night was already setting in, we stuck to the interstates rather than retracing our scenic route from earlier in the day. Keen to make the most of the Ohio countryside whilst we had both a car and a free morning, we had made our way to the Mohican State Park in search of a short walking trail. It seems that nobody in their right mind braves the parks in sub-zero temperatures, since we found the place deserted by all but a few friendly deer. Having inched our way along a slightly treacherous road in order to look out over Clear Fork gorge, then attempted to cross a naturally occurring ice-rink to gain a view of Pleasant Hill Lake, we decided to call it a day!

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“The return journey was swift in comparison, and, after a short panic as we failed to locate a fuel station en route to the drop-off point for our hire car, we were soon back at the hotel ready for a good night’s sleep. The rest of the group were not so lucky. Their scheduled arrival time of 10pm somehow turned into 1am, so those that made it to breakfast this morning were looking distinctly bleary-eyed. It just goes to show, sometimes it pays to lead a workshop in freezing Ohio while your fellow singers are lazing around on Miami Beach!”