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Prescriptions a for successful trip

27 February, 2015

An distinctly uneventful travel day from DC to Kansas City prompted Kate to ponder the state of her health…

Other brands are available.

Other brands are available.

“One question we get asked frequently is “How do you stay healthy on a long tour?”. Being on the road for two weeks, and having concerts most nights, tends to bring out any (barely) concealed hypochondriac tendencies. Emma is Tour Nurse, and comes armed with an impressive array of pills and potions, but even she struggles to help in some circumstances. I have compiled a list of some of the most common afflictions:

Lost voices

“The biggest issue is when someone wakes up with no voice. It happens fairly frequently (in fact, one soprano commented that it was almost a novelty to have everyone singing the first concert of this trip with no vocal issues, only to be struck down the next day), though fortunately rarely badly enough to take someone completely out of action. Normally with careful reassignment of verses and exposed sections the show can go on. But it is very frustrating for the person croaking away, not least because whenever they strike up conversation with another member of the group they can expect to be met with cries of “Don’t talk!” “Save your voice!”. It can be a lonely couple of days waiting to return to full strength.


“The occasional forays into warmer climes offer the welcome chance to work on our tans. These inevitably lead to a ‘Brits on holiday’ look of bright red faces and ‘farmer’s tans’. No-one has yet surpassed the spectacular sunburn achieved by our tenor dep in Lebanon a couple of years ago. Fortunately no photographs of this seem to have survived.

“While this not been an issue yet on this tour, our arrival in Miami on Monday – with three days in the sun after shivering in sub-zero temperatures – potentially sets the stage for some spectacular sunburn. Get your Dulux charts at the ready; I expect tones ranging from pale fuchsia to deep crimson

Vomiting bug

“The most dramatic tour illnesses tend to take the form of vomiting bugs. One memorable occasion in France saw a bug scythe through the group, incapacitating about 80% of us. The first to fall was Eleanor, who was struck down on the bus journey back from the rather lavish post-concert reception. As the night wore on it became clear that Eleanor’s sickness had not been a result of over-indulgence, as more and more of us fell victim. It culminated in Olly Hunt vomiting so much that he passed out and hit his head on the toilet at about 4am. It was bleeding so badly that he had to go to hospital in the middle of the night to have it stitched. This was the very first time the group had performed outside the UK – rather eventful!

Sports injuries

“Hours of inactivity in airports (not to mention catching unflattering glimpses in the hotel room full-length mirrors) prick the consciences of even the laziest of us into braving the hotel gym. For many physical exercise only ever happens on tour, so it is unsurprising that an early-morning communal pilates session leads to cries of pain and pronounced limps by the time we get to the concert. Safest to stick to a splash in the hotel pool, I think.


Katie hard at work this morning


“Particularly an issue on States tours, every breakfast meet-up is dominated by comparing notes on how long and well/badly people have slept. Those waking before dawn can expect to be greeted by a barrage of ‘WhatsApp’ messages from other early risers with long discussions on breakfast plans as they wait for the sun to rise. And yet somehow we still never manage to leave the hotel before 9am…..”