Last week the Kidderminster Valentines Female Voice Choir embarked on their summer tour – last year we went to Devon, this year we headed to Essex. Marks Tey was our base for our 4 night stay, and the impressive Marks Tey Hotel who were not daunted by this coach load of chatty ladies and their visitors!
In addition to our two concerts we had time for a bit of sightseeing, and our first destination was Layer Marney Tower. This magnificant Tudor tower overlooking the River Blackwater is set in beautiful landscaped gardens, and together with the church and tearooms is well worth a visit. We were lucky enough to have a guided tour from its current owner Nicholas Charrington and his wife, whose passion for their family home was clear to see. After being allowed to sing in the Great Hall, with its wonderful acoustics, it is certainly a destination many of us woud like to revisit in the future.
Colchester claims to be Britain’s oldest recorded town, and our guide on Friday’s walking tour provided us with a wealth of information about this historic town and its history. It was also the venue for Saturday nights concert in aid of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal at the Castle Methodist Church with the Harwich British Legion Brass Band. The small, but very appreciative, audience was regaled with a plethora of fine brass band and choral music – rounded off by a combined rendition of New York New York and the haunting You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The Essex Chordsmen were our companions at Friday nights concert in aid of J’s hospice at the Central Baptist Church in Chelmsford. This barber shop chorus with their distinctive style kept the audience enthralled and entertained throughout an evening of melodic majesty. The two choirs combined for a medley of rock and roll classics at the end of the concert that had everyone tapping their feet!
With suitcases packed, sadly we turned the coach towards home on Sunday after singing farewell to the hotel staff. It was a wonderful tour and everyone had a great time, both choir and their visitors alike and we are all looking forward now to next year when our choir will once again be joining the combined brass and voices at The Royal Albert Hall in aid of Cancer Research with amongst others the Grimethorpe colliery band. (Nov 3rd 2012)