Thursday 24th October
Anne and I have just returned from a most enriching holiday in Vienna and Salzburg. By great good fortune we managed to get into the dress rehearsal of La Clemenza di Tito on our second night, and that good fortune remained with us for eleven days as we trod in the footsteps (and in the very houses) of Leopold, Constanze and Wolfgang Mozart, of Michael and Joseph Haydn, and, of course, of Antonio Salieri. A refreshing interlude was a wine-tasting day in the Wachau Valley, culminating in a visit to the glorious Abbey at Melk. Even the weather smiled upon us - and the flights were on time. We could ask for nothing more and returned home truly refreshed and inspired.
Saturday 12th October
I've not conducted a Diocesan Choirs Festival since retiring from Southwell so it was a real delight to do so in Henley-on-Thames parish church on October 12th. Numbering around 200 - with an impressive three rows of extremely well-behaved and thoroughly-prepared juniors - the combined choirs of the Diocese of Oxford made a well-blended and confident sound. The rehearsal went smoothly and the service was a delight, enhanced by the fine playing of Sebastian Thomson coping with the rather odd organ, and a thought-provoking address by the Incumbent, Fr. Jeremy Tayler.