Guest post by Josh Cooter
With the group fresh from their Australia tour having landed just a few days previously, I dutifully volunteered, as a guest member, to write the blog for their concert at The Great Comp Music Festival.
Having made it to the beautiful Great Comp Garden after (shall we say…) a station gate malfunction, we were ready to begin the pre-concert rehearsal. The concert venue, a converted stable, was equally as stunning as the surrounding gardens and provided a very intimate space for a concert featuring a first half of polyphonic settings of Marian motets by composers such as Josquin and Lassus followed by a second half of more modern French choral music of the likes of Debussy and Ravel. This programming was not exactly to the delight of a few members of the group for whom the French language didn’t come quite so elegantly to them as it did for David, our allocated French mentor.
After rehearsing we were very kindly given dinner (followed by 2nds and 3rds for some of us…) resulting in the combined idea that a much needed walk was in order; and where better to do that than the 7-acre gardens themselves? However, before I got too carried away fantasising that these were in fact my gardens, I was reminded that we were here for a reason, rather than a vacation, so we put on our reality glasses and readied ourselves for the concert.
This was Fieri’s second year performing at the festival and although I wasn’t with the group last year I could see why they were so eager to come back. With the front row of the audience only a few feet back from us it really was so easy to feel a connection to those listening, something which I have found is lost in so many concerts when seating is so far back from the stage. Even the bats seemed to be enjoying the occasion, as they made fleeting appearances throughout the concert, so we must’ve been doing something right!
After meeting the audience members for a cup of tea after the concert it was time for us to say our goodbyes hoping very much to return to Great Comp at some point in the future.