We have had a good day today, with some free time for wandering and a tiny bit of blue sky under which we wandered. Rare but nice combination.

Our plans were flexible, and changed as the clouds thickened or thinned. First we went in hunt of good patch of rapeside seed for a group photo – but then we needed room for the coach to park near the vista point. It took a little while for the two to come together. We found two spots, and lots of photos were taken.

Group photo #1 of day



Sopranos (with Brendan Owens as stand-in for Marianne Bement)

Group shot #2 of day

Horsing around (I know, don't even say it)

After lunch and roaming in the market town of St. Albans, we drove on to Hitchin to prepare for tonight’s concert. On a tour such as this, two nights without a concert can feel like forever. The choir was ready to sing again, and this church provided perfect acoustics. We knew it would be a great concert just from the rehearsal.

St. Mary's in Hitchin

Rehearsing in the choir stalls

Inside church, looking out

Group photo #3 of day - Back view of St. Mary's

Wish we had more of these!

The church itself is fairly old – parts of it date back to the 12th century, with additions and changes through the next 3 centuries, and lots of renovations and remodeling ever since.

Very worn, old and shallow steps I climbed to gallery

We went to the LDS chapel for a delicious lasagna dinner, and changed into concert attire there. By the time we were able to enter the church for warm-ups, there was already a crowd lined up outside. They poured in once the doors were opened at 7 p.m., and just about every seat was taken by 7:30 p.m. This was a wonderful audience – appreciative and warm. It was very fun to have Evan and LaDawn Petersen, alumni from the ‘90s, come over from Germany to hear a concert and see their nephew, Nick, perform in the choir.

Nick Petersen, Evan & LaDawn Petersen, Dr. Staheli

This really was a gorgeous concert. The choir used the choir stalls in the chancel for one of their Renaissance pieces, and it worked beautifully. The sound was round and warm with lots of resonance, but without any of the muddy sound that a really large cathedral can sometimes bring. This church was just about as perfect a venue as we could wish to have.

This concert benefited a local charity, and there were many dignitaries present. We prevailed on them to pose with the choir for a photo, so you may admire the many emblems of office they wear around their necks. All were most complimentary. Indeed, we had to be kicked out of the church, as there were so many who wanted to talk with the choir. The cover for the baptism font was challenging to photograph around, but it mostly worked.

Tonight is our last night with host families, and again we offer our gratitude and thanks for the generosity that helps make these tours possible. We couldn’t do these without their sponsorship and help!