Returning back from the Easter holidays, the S. Anselm’s Chapel Choir, led by Head Chorister Nell, left for Dublin. Here is an account of the wonderful trip as told by our Director of Music, Mr Percival.
Our first stop after a 3-hour minibus journey was the Traxx Hotel Bangor in Wales which allowed us to sleep properly post a wonderful homemade spaghetti bolognese made by owner Wendy.
An early 6 am start for the choir heading out to Holyhead, boarding the 9 am Stena Ferry. Thankfully, the 3-hour crossing was beautiful on a rare calm Irish Sea as was our return. Upon our arrival in Dublin, The 24-strong choir headed immediately to Gonzaga College for Boys and the first of the tour concerts began organised by Head of Music Rosemary O’Brien. The parents and the choir were treated to traditional Irish instrumental songs, a Capella singing and the Gonzaga Orchestra before we took to the stage and wowed the audience with 4 excellent performances including For the Beauty of the Earth, Shenandoah, Down by the Salley Gardens and Lean on Me. A tea time dip in the Irish Sea was followed with dinner at our 4-star Sandymount Hotel.
No rest for the wicked therefore, after a hearty breakfast we departed for Dublin Castle and a private tour. Next, a walk to Trinity College for lunch with a short shopping interlude and then some a Capella singing which was performed in front of parents and the public in a blaze of sunshine in the middle of St Stephens Gardens. The Dublin Dart took us back to the hotel for a quick change, doughnut and return to the town centre amidst 50,000 Rugby fans! A private concert and buffet for parents at the Black Piano was very well received and fun was had by all.
Following yet another lovely breakfast and dressed in full school uniform, the choir rehearsed at Sandford Parish Church alongside the regular adult choir preparing for a fabulous Sunday Service. Reverend Sonia Giles warmly welcomed the Chapel Choir and our Head Chorister explained to the congregation where we were from, who we were, past endeavours and the choir’s passion for singing – bravo Nell. Following the kind Sandford Parish hospitality we headed back to the hotel for a very quick change of clothes adorning tracksuits for our Zipit High Wire adventure afternoon. Mrs Baynes and Mrs Percival joined the tree canopy fun and many screams later (mainly from Mrs Percival) everyone headed to Killiney Beach in the gorgeous warm late afternoon sun. The boys on tour took to the sea (very brave), some without spare clothes! Unfortunately, our restaurant booking for Benito’s was ‘forgotten’ but some quick reorganising from our stoic staff got us back for yet another delicious hotel evening meal.
An exhausted choir spent the morning recuperating in the Dundrum Shopping Centre before a Wagamama’s lunch returning to Dublin Port and the subsequent 3.5-hour ferry to Holyhead. We eventually rolled into SA at 10:20 pm. A huge thank you to Mrs Baynes, Mrs Schaper and Mrs Percival for their superb support both accompanying, conducting, singing and looking after all of the children plus a sincere thank you to all of the wonderful parents who supported the tour both in Dublin and at home.