Guest Post by Guy Cutting
We left our lodgings in Sydney early the following morning, and caught a Maxi cab to the airport. It felt too soon to be leaving Sydney – in an ideal world we might have had another day or two to explore a little more. Thorough exploration will have to wait until our next visit, I suppose! Fortunately, I did manage to sample the Opera House, Botanical Gardens and a few other city highlights before leaving, not to mention the most fantastic taster menu at ‘Nomad’. Good find, Molly.
Our flight from Sydney to Brisbane went smoothly with very little turbulence, and before we knew it we found ourselves in Brisbane, or ‘Brissie’ as the Aussies say. We were met by Graeme, the ‘man in charge’ of this part of our tour and DoM at St John’s Cathedral, and a couple of other cathedral characters who had offered, very kindly, to drive us into the city. At last(!) we had warm weather and could enjoy a little sun. Everyone’s spirits rose as a result. Funny how the weather can affect us so much! I’d foolishly packed thousands of pairs of shorts and only three pairs of trousers for this trip and so was glad to see short-wearing potential at last.
We were driven to the Cathedral in three cars. The Cathedral is a beautiful building with a wonderful acoustic (particularly good news as we had our Marian programme coming up which really does require a decent space!). After wandering around the cathedral and discovering the ‘song room’ we headed off to our accommodation. We were staying in a complex called ‘Forest Lodge’; a set of apartments located in the Brisbane suburb named Indooroopilly. We quickly split up into boys and girls (as is often the case!) with four in each apartment. Ben started worrying about spiders again and could be seen checking beds, floors, ceilings and shower for the little beasts. Bless him…
As we were all pretty exhausted by this stage, it was decided that we would take advantage of the self-catering and cook ourselves. A couple of trips were made to Coles supermarket and before long we had the BBQ in full working order! Rose made a very tasty risotto whilst Tom and Ben cooked the meat (of course…). All eight of us sat round a table outside, surrounded by forest and exotic birds and enjoyed the meal. Kookaburras kept some up during the night with their bizarre monkey-like sounds – absolutely deafening and gives quite a shock on first hearing!
The following morning we headed over to the cathedral to rehearse the Marian programme which included some absolute gems such as the Parsons ‘Ave Maria’. We were all feeling relatively relaxed as we had already performed this exact programme in Adelaide and so there wasn’t much squabbling during the rehearsal on this occasion (thankfully)! We decided to use a number of different areas of the cathedral during the programme to add to the spectacle – the opening piece by Dufay saw David and Ben hidden behind the altar, Hannah and Molly up in a balcony at the opposite end of the cathedral, and the remainder on the main stage. This worked really well as an opening number, I think.
Before the gig, Molly (our social sec. extraordinaire) led us off to a burger bar to top up on energy before the performance. Great food once more – I don’t think I had a single bad food experience on this tour. The Aussies really do know how to cook! Concert ensued and went rather well; a slick rendition of all the works. I found myself grinning away a couple of times which is always a good sign!
Spirits were high following the performance and all were keen to chat away to audience members at the reception, armed with tasty canapés (honey mustard sausages – yum yum) and wine. Half of ‘the eight’ decided they wanted to head to bed whilst the other half, myself included, made our way into town for another couple of drinks. We (Molly) located ‘The Gresham Bar’ where we spent the next couple of hours with ‘a glass or two’ of Prosecco. Oh, and Tom enjoyed his whiskey.