Choir and orchestra had a busy year, with the usual two orchestra concerts, a choir trip to Vienna (by train) to sing Messiah, and the always packed end of year.


Our new conductor was only with us for the one year, but we covered quite a lot in a short period of time.

February’s concert consisted of Sibelius’ Karelia Suite, Franck’s Le Chasseur Maudit, and Elgar’s Prelude to The Dream of Gerontius and Enigma Variations. In July, on the other hand, we had Wagner’s Prelude to Tristan und Isolde, and his Wesendonck Lieder (soloist Paula Sides), plus Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7.

We’re looking for string players; if you’re in the Birmingham area get in touch!

Concerts 15

Two SBS orchestra concerts, four Enchant concerts (Coventry cathedral, Christmas concert, St Mary’s Hospice, JQ carols), one BGSO concert (Dvorak 8), two CBC performances in Vienna, and six other CBC concerts (Belshazzar’s Feast, Tewkesbury Abbey, Mozart’s Requiem, Spectacular Classics x2, and Messiah).

CDs recorded 1

“An Enchanted Christmas”. Recorded in March (yet feeling decidedly Christmas-y), and on sale now!

Vienna – Birmingham 18 hours

As I had to look after a 2 year old on Monday, I had to get back from Vienna – over 1,000 miles – in a day, and I don’t get planes. I left on the 06:50 train from Vienna, missed my connection in Frankfurt due to an ambulance being called to someone on the train, rushed to Köln to pay extra for a Thalys train to get me to Brussels in time for the last Eurostar all ready to throw myself on their mercy, only to discover my booked Eurostar was still there, delayed due to the French elections. Home before midnight!

Vienna, in haiku

18th April

  1. 6:12am Up before the lark,
    Fox by the Rea, town by bus,
    Vienna by train.
  2. 6:25am Birmingham sunrise,
    Rotunda, Bullring, Moor Street,
    Gleaming in the light.
  3. 6:39am Centenary Lounge,
    Waiting for the London train,
    Scrambled eggs on toast.
  4. 8:10am Off-peak CIV,
    From Moor Street to Marylebone,
    Valid this early :)
  5. 9:23am Walk to Baker Street,
    Short hold at a red signal,
    Now press for champagne.
  6. 10:56am Eurostar sets off,
    Into a long long tunnel,
    But not yet in France.
  7. 11:28am Underneath the sea,
    An election is called. And
    we all wonder why.
  8. 1:42pm Passing Charles de Gaulle,
    Eiffel Tower in the haze,
    Establishing shot.
  9. 3:11pm An hour is lost,
    Transfer to Gare de Lyon,
    Baguette in the sun.
  10. 4:18pm TGV is late,
    Moved from Hall 2 to Hall 1,
    Waiting a platform.
  11. 4:39pm Paris to Zürich,
    The train speeds on its way to
    the mountains ahead.
  12. 7:10pm Switzerland is near,
    Its roaming charges are mad,
    See you at our digs.
  13. 10:22pm Arrived in Zurich,
    Off out to find some Swiss food,
    Everything is closed.

19th April

  1. 5:41am Train at 8:40,
    So why brain do I wake up
    Three hours early.
  2. 7:43am Again station bound,
    To catch a train to Innsbruck,
    The Tirol in spring.
  3. 10:23am Snowy mountainsides,
    Zürichsee and Walensee,
    Cut through Liechtenstein!
  4. 10:38am Compartment for six,
    Climbing up to Arlbergpaß,
    The way to travel.
  5. 1:28pm Changing at Innsbruck,
    Could have made six minute change,
    Wait an hour, have lunch.
  6. 1:47pm Past the Zillertal,
    Red and green spires on each side,
    The snow flurries round.
  7. 3:29pm Just gone through Salzburg,
    News from the first group on plane:
    They are, umm, in Prague.
  8. 4:48pm

    Linz now behind us,
    Danube to the north of us,
    We munch our Milka.†

    († Just me. I ate all the Milka.)

  9. 5:50pm Arrived in Wien
    Meidling (closer to hotel),
    Weather, snowing hard.
  10. 5:55pm Two tube and a bus
    To go. Between stops only.
    Validate ticket!
  11. 8:39pm Wild garlic soup, and
    Green and white asparagus.
    Spargel im Spargel.
  12. 10:41pm Two days of travel,
    Birmingham to Vienna,
    What joy was had. Night :-)

20th April

  1. 7:30am Slept okay, bit warm,
    Roommate alarm clock was on,
    Already awake.
  2. 8:26am Everyone asleep,
    Anyone got any “Must-
    See” in Vienna?
  3. 1:28pm Tube to Secession,
    Lift to roof of Karlskirche,
    War memorial.
  4. 3:06pm Upper and lower
    Belvedere, gardens and Klimt,
    Stephansdom in view.
  5. 7:30am Vegan Swing Kitchen! :)
    A roof tour of Stephansdom,
    A long rehearsal.

21st April

  1. 11:48am Singing midday mass—
    Byrd, Wood, Bairstow, Stanford; then
    Finzi and Walton.
  2. 6:59pm See Ankeruhr,
    Holocaust Memorial,
    Imperial chairs.
  3. 7:07pm Wrenkh for lovely lunch,
    Roman walls, stumbled on Pride,
    Now Apfelstrudel.
  4. 11:23pm Vegan burger, then
    Performing the Messiah –
    Standing ovation :)

22nd April

  1. 6:31am

    Most did the Schönbrunn
    On Friday, so while they sleep,
    Doing it alone.

    (Some are doing it
    Sunday, but I’ll be on the
    Train—home in a day.)

  1. 6:51am

    Mistaken for a
    Wien Marathon runner*
    Else why up early?

    * Ha ha ha ha ha.
    (It's on Sunday, many are
    Here at this hotel.)

  1. 2:59pm

    Prater ferris wheel,
    with cute history models,
    Yamm pay by weight lunch—

    Amazing mango
    and chocolate cake; buffet I
    Could eat anything :)

  2. 11:11pm Votive church; stumble
    on March for Science. Walk down
    Ringstraße, busy.
  3. 11:17pm Imperial rooms,
    Too much gold. Cafe Central,
    A lovely bee cake.
  4. 11:22pm

    Globe museum does
    what it says; Esperanto
    museum next door.

    Pause in St Peter’s,
    Then dinner in a cellar,
    Some spinach strudel.

  5. 11:31pm Tomorrow by train,
    Vienna to Birmingham,
    One thousand miles plus.

23rd April

  1. 5:58am Red sky at morning,
    Matthew’s yawning. Exciting
    Pre-booked breakfast bag.
  2. 6:47am

    My ticket, it says
    Frankfurt 1:36. But
    Train says 2:09.

    My connection is
    just under an hour, but
    Great work, Deutsche Bahn.

  3. 1:15pm Regensburg half ten,
    Nürnberg half past eleven,
    Würzburg half twelve, late.
  4. 3:00pm Made time back up, but
    Ambulance called at Hanau.
    Knock on effects, <sigh>
  5. 3:17pm I got the stamp, so
    Let us now see its magic
    Take me home. I hope.
  6. 6:59pm At Bruxelles-Midi.
    Lots of people with machine
    Guns. Very long queue.
  7. 8:40pm

    Out of the tunnel,
    One hour late; the train from
    Euston will be slow—

    An hour’s delay
    Equals two hours late to
    Get to Birmingham.


  8. 11:50pm

    Travel by train from
    Vienna to Birmingham
    In a day. Only…

    …if necessary.
    The journey via Zürich
    was more relaxed. Night!

24th April

  1. 8:44am

    Normality back,
    Jigsaw and oats and please help
    Me hang the washing.

    (Guess that should end my
    Haiku holiday. Hope it
    Wasn't annoying.)

Thanks for reading

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