Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Southwark Cathedral

The Mark Twain Ringers were performing today at Southwark Cathedral. After two days without playing, they needed to get back to work. So that they wouldn't think they were here on vacation, Ron got them together for rehearsal soon after breakfast. They improvised a choir room in the common area of the apartment building (which is normally used as kitchen) and were practicing for more than an hour before getting on the bus that would take us to London. The schedule was going to be based on the time of the performance and we had to get there with plenty of time. However, we would have to wait inside the Cathedral without time to go for lunch. For that reason, on our way to London, we stopped to buy some sandwiches at a local supermarket.

Southwark Cathedral is a unique monument. It is one of those London's hidden jewels that the visitor must see, and the best way is to walk through the streets of the neighborhood. When walking through those streets, it is inevitable to think that maybe William Shakespeare walked exactly by the same place, since he was a resident of Southwark and he wrote the majority of his greatest works while living there. In order to arrive to Southwark Cathedral, we had to go through the Borough Market, which is the oldest fruits and vegetable wholesale market, trading since 1756. The Cathedral itself is the oldest one in London, since it is believed that there has been a church in that site since 606. It looks as if the city of London grew and expanded starting in that place.

Two performances were scheduled today at Southwark Cathedral. The first one was the Perth College Choir and String Ensemble, a group of students from Australia that started at 2:00 pm. They were mainly a vocal choir, but they also played a couple of pieces with a string quart and a piano. They did very well.

The Mark Twain Ringers played after them, and for that reason they had to be waiting a longer time. It was a beautiful concert, because the place were it was taking place was so unique. We could hear some pieces that the bellringers don't play very often, together with some of the best samples of sacred music of their repertoire, like their adaptation of "Amazing Grace", which was very much appreciated. The place, the environment, the special atmosphere of Southward Cathedral, the good acoustics, and the excellent performance of the students, made this performance the best one during this London tour. Since the video is very large and it takes a long time to process, I am just posting one of the pieces. When we get back to Los Angeles I will be editing the whole performance and I will upload it to our Youtube Channel.

The kids were very happy because they did an excellent job, and Ron Theile was also happy, although he was already thinking in the next performance tomorrow at Hyde Park, the most important one. Dr. Patton, the Principal, who has been attending the concerts of the Bellringers while working on arrangements with news agencies that have shown interest in our students, was happy too. He has been the one that made this trip possible, and the students are very grateful for that. Today they gave him a gift that they had bought for him as a token of appreciation, and it took him by surprise. Dr. Patton talked to them for a couple of minutes, and he was moved (at least his voice seemed to quiver a little bit a couple of times).

After the concert at Southwark Cathedral, the students had a great reward: ticket for a ride in the London Eye. That was just simply incredible. I'm not going to waste time trying to explain: just have a look at the pictures.

After that we went for dinner at an Italian restaurant which was at a walking distance of the London Eye. We ate some very good lasagna. Then, the usual routine: getting on the bus again and going back to our accommodations at Keynes College. Tomorrow the students will be playing at Hyde Park, which will probably be the most important performance of the tour because it is where more people are expected. Can I predict that they will do great?


  1. AMAZE-B's!!!!!! Congrats to the Bell Ringers, you sound beautiful!

  2. Hello, Nina. We actually went to Paris just a couple of days before. The kids loved it!