In August 2019 we ventured abroad once more for a short tour of Belgium. Our programme consisted of works by 16th-century European composers, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After an incredibly smooth and hitch-free journey on the Eurostar, we arrived in Ghent, only to encounter our first problem: where was Tenor 2? After several failed attempts at locating the coffee shop where he had apparently been hiding out since arriving from Munich earlier in the day, we eventually (literally) bumped into each other in the middle of a road and continued our journey to the hostel where we were to spend the next three nights.

The hostel kindly allowed us the use of their conference room for a short rehearsal; once we’d got used to the unnerving presence of the is-it-a-fish-or-is-it-a-giant-worm model we had a productive time and retired feeling positive about the next day’s performances.

Friday saw us sing in two very different venues: St Michael’s Church in the afternoon (see post-concert photo below) and St Paul’s Church in the evening. The latter’s acoustic was simply stunning, and we hugely appreciated the reception laid on by the not insignificant audience, who in turn appreciated our director’s attempts at speaking Dutch, and even laughed at a joke or two. A late-night trip out for a quick meal saw Tenor 2 experience the delights of McDonald’s for the first time (he eventually triumphed over the electronic ordering system [despite its attempts to eat him], although not without some lasting trauma), and Tenor 1 let loose in Ghent as he didn’t fancy the tram.

On Saturday we enjoyed a boat-trip in the morning (complete with collapsing umbrellas), and visited St Bavo’s Cathedral for our third and final performance, before enjoying the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. There was great excitement at the prospect of a visit to a ‘cat café’, but we opted for waffles and sight-seeing instead before regrouping for a final meal prior to our departure the next morning.

Thanks must go to Rayburn Tours for organising such a hassle-free trip, and to our director Louisa Denby (who in turn would like to thank all those who sang).