So the big day arrived. We piled into the minibus with painted aprons, first aid kits, risk assessments, spare water and the 101 other things that are essential for a school trip and drove to Salisbury Cathedral. We pointed out the spire as we approached Salisbury and said that that was where we were going to be singing this evening. “Wow Miss, it looks like a church!” I hadn’t realised that our children hadn’t realised that a cathedral was a type of church.
We arrived in time and after a slight delay because although I had 2 emails saying we had a minibus space booked, just tell the little man and he’ll direct you he didn’t have any such information. That sorted we found a space on the end that I could park in and off we went.
We did the rehearsal and the children were fine, we then went to look round the cathedral. This included looking at the Magna Carta, something I had never seen before. It was a bit like when I saw The Sunflowers in the National Gallery – it was much smaller than I imagined it would be. Then the bit the children wanted – play in the Cathedral School grounds – staying away from the water, which was on the risk assessment and trying to stop them climbing trees – which wasn’t! After a while Clive, the headmaster, showed us to the dining hall for tea – sausage, mash and beans. This seemed to go down well, the cup of tea for the adults also went down well, When the children were told that they could have more the queue that appeared made it look as if 200 children hadn’t already eaten a plateful of food! A quick play outside later and it was time for the performance of the Magna Cantata.
The cathedral was full and there were far more people on the stage than there had been at the rehearsal. The children were fascinated by the other choirs and the small orchestra and as they sang and played they tended to turn and look at them rather than the audience. They were keen to look for people that they knew – even if that was only me sat at the side and gave the odd wave. One child turned every so often and gave me a thumbs up from his front row seat and then mimed that he wanted a drink but overall the children sang and did the actions – they did not get struck silent with stage fright or fall off the stage!
We got back to school with fewer children falling asleep than I anticipated, all of the parents were waiting and were keen to see their offspring and take them home. I went to put the minibus inside the school gates and collect my car, good plan but… My pass apparently doesn’t work at that time of night! Not to worry my neighbours will never notice that I’ve swapped my shiny tiny blue car for a minibus!
Was it worth it? Of course, I’m sure the children will always remember singing in such a prestigious venue and I’m hoping that I will soon stop singing some of the rather too catchy tunes and lyrics!