Tour to Florida, October 2007
Posted on Nov 11, 2008 in Tours
CHESTER CATHEDRAL CHOIR TOUR TO FLORIDA 2007 DIARY
FRIDAY 19TH OCTOBER
After a few teary moments, we set off on the journey to Manchester Airport. Whilst a few choristers were excited (that being an understatement), most were simply trying to get back to sleep after a painful 6.15 start in the Refectory.
A few hours later, after spending a small fortune in Duty Free, we were on our way to Florida. Before take off we received a special welcome on the pilot-intercom and 20 minutes later we were in the air. During the 8-hour flight, one particular head chorister managed to not only spill vast quantities of apple juice over herself, but also lose here passport.
After a second flight, we arrived in Florida! At the English equivalent of 2.30 am, we stopped at a buffet for dinner, an 45 minutes returned to the hotel and fell straight into bed.
SATURDAY 20TH OCTOBER
On day two, full of excitement, we set off for the Kennedy Space Centre! After arriving, an excited Mr. Rushforth, followed closely by Mr. Roberts rushed off to the Space Flight Simulator. After whizzing around space, everyone headed off for coffee and fudge. Following that, we went to watch an Imax Movie (which included everyone wearing extremely attractive plastic yellow glasses which allowed us to see the film in 3D) in which everyone spent 45 minutes attempting to grab ‘flying objects’ and flick dust away from their faces. After looking around the space garden, everyone headed off to the buffet.
SUNDAY 21ST OCTOBER
On day three, which started with an unpopular 5.30 wake up call, we sung our first mass, at St. Luke’s Cathedral to celebrate St. Luke’s day. After circling the Cathedral 4 times as part of the processional hymn (that involved more interludes than verses), we spent 2 hours singing on a balcony above the congregation with the Boychoir. We were shocked at the relaxed attitude of the choir and congregation after comparing the conductor to Mr. Poulter on a Sunday morning!
After a surprise visit from Bethany’s family, we returned to the hotel for an afternoon relaxing in the pool. In the evening, we travelled to Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company for a delicious meal of shrimp and fish.
MONDAY 22ND OCTOBER
On day four, as we became accustomed to the early morning wake up calls, we set off for Seaworld! As our tour guide Anne, reeled off endless lists of activities, excitement levels rose and everyone began to plan their day. When we arrived, and everyone realised the temperature had reached 35 degrees Celsius, a mass of choristers headed for the ‘Journey to Atlantis’ water ride to cool off. After watching a fabulous dolphin show, we eagerly headed for the Shamu Show. Whilst most of the audience remained dry, a small group including Ed, Joe, Will and myself were drenched by Shamu as he flapped his tail in our direction.
After the show, we set off for ‘Kraken’ (Seaworld’s roller coaster) with some of the choristers riding up to 5 times consecutively. Despite originally chickening out of the ride, when discovering that his own 10 year old daughter Laura has already braved it, Mr. Rushforth chose to go on ‘Kraken’ in an attempt ot regain some street-cred.
TUESDAY 23RD OCTOBER
On day five, with a free morning scheduled, everyone was thankful for an opportunity to have a lie-in, and most of the group slept in until 8.30, and then spent the rest of the morning either relaxing in the pool or exploring Old Town. At 1.15, we boarded the coach for St. Luke’s to prepare for a concert in the evening. After a rehearsal in the afternoon, we travelled an hour away from the Cathedral… in order to go for a meal in a restaurant 25 yards away from our hotel. 2 hours later, we were standing in the Nave singing. Whilst the size of the audience was slightly disappointing (we nearly outnumbered them), the standing ovation that we received at the end of the concert made up for this.
In true-Cathedral choir style, I nearly fainted in the concert, and during the reception following, everyone sang Happy Birthday to Will in 4 part harmony.
WEDNESDAY 24TH OCTOBER
On day six, as we set off for the Universal Studios (rather than the theme park) everyone was getting excited as once again Anne listed the activities to do in the park. After gaining some courage after going on ‘Kraken’, Mr. Rushforth was already looking forward to going on the new ‘The Mummy’ ride (which had taken 10 years to complete), even if he did have to “ease himself in”! After a ride on ‘Twister’, and a 10 minute wait for the ride, we were about to board the ride, at least until Joe and I were sent back to the start of the ride for wearing no shoes. After retrieving our shoes, we finally rode ‘The Mummy’ which involved being thrown backwards on the ride and blasted with fire.
After a delicious lunch at the Hard Rock Café followed by buying some “hardcore jewellery”, we went off to the other attractions. At 5 o’clock, after some last minute purchases, including a clapper-board (“Howells Magnificat, take 17, reel 4”) we set off for the hotel. With a free evening, a small group of the choir went and played a very serious game of go-karts followed by walking around the ‘British Shoppe’ whilst speaking in “slightly exaggerated English accents”.
THURSDAY 25TH OCTOBER
On day seven we travelled to Vero Beach. Following a rehearsal in the morning for a concert in Trinity Concert, we set off for the beach. 45 minutes later we were all swimming in the sea. The water was overwhelmingly salty and most of the choristers ‘drowned’ at least twice, but the squeals that could be heard from both choristers and parents confirmed that everyone had enjoyed the swim. After having showers in the retreat-houses by the church, and leisure activities, we were treated to a meal cooked by the congregation. Everyone enjoyed the meal and an hour later we began our concert. With a larger audience, we were filled with more confidence and this was reflected in our singing.
FRIDAY 26TH OCTOBER
On day eight, with yet another early start, it was expected of the choristers to be filled with complaints, but for once this was not true, as it was Disney day! (“Yay!”)
As usual, Mr. Rushforth took the lead as he skipped ahead towards Space Mountain. Whilst every other member of the choir managed to go on the ride in the first ½ hour, it took Emily Burnett (HEAD CHORISTER) 7 hours to build up the confidence to do so. Following that, 2 rides on “Buzz Lightyear Star Command” revealed that several lay clerks had spent too much time on video games, with impressive scores such as 124,700 (Joe Buckmaster) and 99,000 (Ed Jones), whereas Mr. Roberts and I had not with embarrassing scores of 6,000 and 4,000 respectively.
At 7 o’clock, we all boarded the coach, and at 10 o’clock following a long game of piggy-in-the-middle in the pool, several lay clerks and a few choristers sat in ‘Flippers Pizzeria’ paying a very intense game of “Name that Anthem” (created by Mr. Rushforth) followed by an even more serious game of charades.
SATURDAY 27TH OCTOBER
On day nine, with free time to start the day, a few choristers chose to get a taxi in order to travel to the closest mall for some retail therapy. Whilst this was happening, a very mature group of Joe Buckmaster, Philip Rushforth, Will Hare, Ed Jones and Bryan Dadson chose to bully Ian Roberts (Assistant Organist) in another game of piggy-in-the-middle by taking advantage of his height and kind-heartedness.