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Return to Sion

17 October, 2014

Me

Eleanor filed this report from the Swiss Rhône valley.

“We are always delighted to return to the Basilique de Valère in Sion, and I was particularly delighted to fly out a few days early in order to appreciate the mountain scenery. This is not only because I enjoyed some stunning walks from the nearby village of Arolla, but it also ended up saving me from an extremely stressful journey. We were informed on Friday evening that Easyjet had postponed our afternoon flight by four hours, meaning that over half the members of Stile came dangerously close to being stranded in Geneva airport overnight, finally arriving at our hotel in Sion shortly before 2am! Not wishing to be outdone by Easyjet, BA decided to cancel Ben’s flight out on Sunday morning, so he had to book himself onto a later plane, finally arriving at the basilica halfway through our rehearsal.

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“But the wonderful thing about performing as part of Les Riches Heures de Valère is that any inconvenience in getting there is quickly outweighed by the experience on arrival. The beautiful hilltop basilica has a glorious acoustic for Renaissance Polyphony, and the interval affords a chance to relax on the terrace, watching the sun start to set over the mountains. It was especially exciting to perform ‘From the Imperial Court’ from our positions just underneath the Habsburg crest, and indeed a mere hundred miles from Habsburg Castle, where the House of Habsburg began.

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“After the concert we were treated by our generous hosts to a veritable feast of local cheese and wine. We’ve now performed in Sion four times, and eating plate after plate of raclette has become a keenly anticipated post-concert celebration. Luckily we’d burned a few calories earlier in the day by climbing Mont d’Orge, though I have to admit that none of the rest of us took our exercise quite as seriously as that most adventurous of tenors, Matt Howard.”

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