2nd September 2021 — When you don’t succeed, try again and if that doesn’t work, try again! It was certainly third time lucky as far as the Churcher's College Orchestra & Jazz band tour was concerned! The original plan was a tour to Lake Garda in Italy which needed to be rearranged due to Coronavirus. A possible tour to Jersey in the Channel Islands was planned instead but when this was also not possible, plan C was to create a UK – based tour.
With eight weeks to go before the start date, the race was on to find suitable accommodation for 62 people, exciting concert venues, fun activities and put all the necessary arrangements in place. The bigger challenge of Coronavirus meant that we were never sure whether the tour would be able to take place, even on the day of departure with all pupils and staff having to be tested prior to leaving school but take place it did and for those that managed to come with us who didn’t have the virus or were having to self–isolate, a fantastic time was had by all.
We stayed in the beautiful setting of Nettlecombe Court FSC in North Devon. This gave us a great base each day as we headed to our concert locations of Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth, the Quayside in Exeter, the Banjo, Princess Gardens by the harbour in Torquay and finally to the impressive Wells Cathedral. The Orchestra played a selection of pieces from Classical masterpieces, including the Carmen Fantasy by Sarasate with soloist Anna Lezdkan to well-known film music classics and lighter numbers, all of which were enjoyed by a large number of people at each location. The Jazz Band also excelled themselves and were joined by brilliant Florrie Ransom who stunned the audiences with her amazing voice.
As is the tradition on our Orchestra and Jazz band tours, in between the concerts we have a great deal of fun with other holiday activities and this tour was no exception, with trips to Exmouth to enjoy a selection of water sports, Bideford to enjoy pushing each other off some inflatable water obstacles and Paington Beach near Torquay on the English Riviera to revel in the glorious weather, warm sea, and traditional British seaside activities.