Visited Sandringham, the Queen’s “winter palace”. Beautiful lawns & gardens, a gorgeous tiny church complete with silver alter and decorations, and the lovely house itself. It would have been considered a hunting lodge, with a large collection of guns, a room full of big game trophies and an impressive collection of royal motor cars (including a sort of minibus called a “hunting brake” for transporting the hunters around the grounds. Returned to Norwich in time to sing Evensong.
Walked along the river near the Cathedral, previously used as a quay for transporting goods into and out of Norwich. After an earlier Evensong, had dinner with Mark & Michael Mueller at The Glass House.
Sang both morning Eucharist and Evensong today. Took a nap in the Cathedral Close during the break. Went out in the evening to celebrate Michael Mueller’s 16th birthday. Due to unusual English drinking age rules, Michael was allowed to have a Crabbie’s ginger beer (bought for him by his Dad, 4% alcohol). Early morning tomorrow, when we travel on to Wells.
6 hours in the coach from Norwich to Wells, arriving just in time to prepare for Evensong at the Cathedral. Dinner in our hotel (The Swan), walked around the moat surrounding the Bishop’s Palace, close by the Cathedral. Long day!
Took the coach to Cambridge, ~2 hours from Norwich. Immediately saw a flier for a concert by the St John’s College of Boys and Men taking place in the early afternoon. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see one the world’s most renowned choirs, so I skipped the guided tour in favor of this concert. Toured Pembroke College before the concert- quite nice with a chapel designed by Christopher Wren.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the at John’s performance, as they were truly superb! Program included Tallis and Purcell (incredible cross relations), some English favorites like Stanford, and an amazing performance of Finzi’s “Lo the Full Final Sacrifice”. Ran into Jeffrey Smith, one of my former director at Grace Cathedral. He thought their performance was a 6 out of 10, but considering how good it was, a 9 out of 10 would be superhuman!
Walked around the lovely gardens behind St John’s College after the performance, and watched the punters going by on the river, past the College’s replica of the Bridge of Sighs.
Caught up with the tail end of the guided tour, and got to see where Isaac Newton lived when he was at Trinity College. His famous apple tree (actually a cutting from the original, which is at a nearby location where Newton spent time) is outside his window.
Walked around a bit more before returning to the coach for the trip back to Norwich.
Arrived in Norwich on Monday 7/21 in the evening. After my 1st rehearsal with the choir on Tuesday morning, took a guided tour of Norwich Cathedral before our first Evensong service. Our guide was very knowledgeable. She talked about the “singing man”, a chorister who was with the choir for 50 years, for both Catholics and the Church of England. The pride and joy of the Cathedral are the painted bosses, structural stone elements at the apex of each roof rib. These bosses tell the stories of the Old and New Testaments, among other things. The Choir is also quite lovely, with beautifully carved wood panels behind the stalls. The building has many nice chapels, filled with art works.
The acoustics of the Cathedral are good for both singers and organ, and we’ve enjoyed the services we’ve sung there.