Matlock Bath Jan 31st – Feb 5th 2010
What a wonderful idea, combining two popular activities in one holiday! I should know, as I have been coming on these holidays for twenty years now.
It is always an exciting time, meeting up for the first evening meal. What will the first timers think of we regulars, greeting each other like long lost brothers and sisters?
This year there are 44 of us of which only 8 folk are here for the first time. There is a great camaraderie among us and everyone is soon made to feel very welcome. After dinner and coffee we meet for our first singing session. The songs include works by Parry, Rutter, and Mozart among others.
Ken Rothery, our Musical Director has brought with him more than 40 pieces of music including – songs from the shows, religious anthems, Christmas carols, folk songs, opera choruses and choruses from other well known choral works. This holiday is an excellent way to improve one’s sight reading skills. This year we were also asked to bring a copy of Mendelsohn’s ELIJAH, and HMS PINAFORE by Gilbert and Sullivan.
Monday dawns and the pattern of activities is set for the rest of the week. After breakfast we sing from 10 o’clock to 12.30; then, following a packed lunch, those feeling energetic take part in a walk led by Adam, our walk leader.
We return in good time to shower and relax before dinner at 6.30 p.m., after which we have another singing session lasting from 8.15 to 10 p.m.
The highlight of the week is, of course, the concert which we perform for ourselves. This takes place on the Thursday evening, when those of us who are brave enough entertain the others with our party pieces. There are always a great variety of items including songs and readings – serious and comic – often requiring audience participation.
Despite many of the party being of a certain age and varying degrees of fitness, the gentle walks of 4 to 6 miles were quite well supported. No activity is obligatory, although everyone seems to attend the singing sessions. Those of us not walking organise their own excursions. There’s plenty to see and do around Matlock Bath, including the Richard Arkwright factory museum which marks the beginning of the world wide Industrial Revolution.