Day 4 – All Things Must Pass……

After the festivities of the night before with the Jazz Band playing until late at night and then the annual award ceremony with the now infamous ‘of the week’ certificates Dave was hoping for a nice slow start before departing for the water park! Alas no …….. 45 excited musicians, cases packed, luggage sorted, all rooms tidied (with a bit of help from Mrs J!) all before 8am! Coffee was needed! Thanks to the Hotel staff for the amazing food and the way they looked after us followed and then departure!

Coach loaded with everything ready for the flight; a bit of a trundle up the hill with all the gear but Trundle Monkey led the way and Bails avoided the acute embarrassment of another dog poo dance!

Off we set, heading towards Siam Park which boasts to be the best and largest water park in Europe! Would it live up to expectations? We sailed through the group booking door despite a fearsome guard (Even Dave and Jukes trembled) and headed towards the ‘beach’ where we found a multitude of sun loungers opposite the wave pool and settled down for the next few hours.

Miss D drew the short straw and was to remain at the base for everyone while Mrs I, Bails and Mrs J leapt excitedly into the wave pool with most of the team with cries of ‘put sunscreen on’ from Miss D! If only they had all listened ….. Ferg and Ols!!! There were over 4000 people in the park and the queues for the rides could be long so it wasn’t long before the team leapt out of the wave pool and headed off to find some rides!

Several groups split off to explore the area before it got too busy; multiple water slides with tubes to whet the appetite, before an exhilarating ride down the Volcano (pity the solitary lifeguard sat on a wall inside the huge caldera getting splashed all day). Lazy River proved popular as a more sedate float round but the more adventurous headed for the Tower of Power, and the Dragon, an almost vertical drop! Miss D was glad she had drawn the short straw as she drank coffee with Basso (hmmmm!) back at base as the tales of the rides were carried back by the excited musicians!

Lunch was purchased from the nearby concession vans, Hettie was warned to leave something for the other park customers and then more rides experienced before the inevitable instruction from Miss D …… that’s it, time up, get dried we leave in 15 minutes!

Oh the trauma for the ladies of the choirs. Where could they wash their hair, shower properly, how could they even contemplate flying back without looking their best! No time for self indulgence said Dave …. get a move on! A long check in, a flight then an overnight coach journey would soon put paid to any preening that was about to take place! Cue Millie Green to the rescue, who erected a temporary cubicle using two towels and a corner fence to beat the huge queues at the girls changing area; no such issues for the boys #powder_room_problems.

All were ready to depart when the pleasant afternoon ambience was punctuated with a muffled grunt from Granite Skull Ollie as a parasol toppled from its stand onto his head felling him like an ox. (as if a light shade bouncing off it on the first night wasn’t bad enough!) The granite skull withstood the parasol attack and soon we were all on the coach having said goodbye to our fabulous tour manager Basso. Without him the tour would definitely not have been anywhere as successful!

Arrival at the airport caused much amusement as suitcases were unloaded and wet clothes then packed into them. First in the queue at the airport and Dave thought “Great! Lots of time!”

Never, ever think ‘lots of time’ when you have to get 50 people,a drum-kit and a double bass through a Spanish check in! Two hours later we had got everyone through check-in but barely 20 minutes to get through security and to the gate! Fortunately there was a flight delay of around an hour to allow a more leisurely security journey and give the students time to get a bite to eat and last minute souvenirs.

However this would not be a music tour if everything went perfectly. No sooner had the squad been sent out in all directions like an army of soldier ants to procure sustenance when the flight board suddenly changed to boarding at gate 9!! In the ensuing chaos of scrabbling to complete food orders and return to the meeting point, Mini Stinch misplaced both her phone and passport. Anna Slaz to the rescue and said items were located and returned! Thank goodness ……. we certainly didn’t want to think of the alternative! Mind you, Dave did fancy another few days in Tenerife – we could get those invitations to perform organised and further cement the growing reputation of the Music Department.

Flight boarded, BA were fabulous yet again. The captain explained the delays and how we would be scheduled for take off – we had 4 minutes to fully load and complete checks or we would miss our window. Our gearts sank somewhat a few minutes later when the Captain announced that we had just missed our slot and now the flight was delayed at least two hours due to incredibly busy airspace. The team were amazing and settled in for the long wait but it wasn’t long before we had taken someone else’s place on the schedule and take off came soon enough. A drama free take off and before much longer all but Dave and Bails were fast asleep as they could be heard giggling like naughty school children as they constructed the previous day’s blog!

Arrival in Gatwick was smooth and on enquiring where the instruments would come out Dave was informed that they’d come out the normal luggage conveyer belt! Nooooooo! the double bass can’t get round the corners of the carousel.

Jeffers and Dave headed swiftly to luggage belt as amps, guitars, drum-kit all came out on the belt followed by Bertie Bass! By this stage the beleaguered and somewhat tired Dave was assisted by amused passengers who all grabbed instruments to help.

Off we trundled again to meet the coach, time now approaching 2am and everyone feeling a little jaded. The coach arrived half an hour later and the luggage was hastily packed by some far too awake musicians and then the long journey home began.

A stop at services was ignored as everyone slept on and the coach drivers from Stagecoach safely drove us home to the welcome party of smiling and awake parents.

And so all things must pass and that was it ……. all over for another year! A fabulous tour where St Christopher’s had once again broken new territory for Club Europe with resounding success! If this pioneering behaviour continues Bails is going to by a stetson for the next time. Time to put your feet up and recharge those batteries ready for the concert on Monday Dave!

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Day 3 – Angelic Voices and Raucous Horns

Today promised to be a more relaxed affair for all the students, some of whom were flagging slightly with the exertions of maintaining tip-top performances. Jazz band were having a rest day and so the pressure was on the voices to pick up the baton (see what I did there Miss D!).

After breakfast there was an extended choir rehearsal, first up Senior Vocals, whose pure tones could be heard drifting up into reception overpowering the constant musical soundtrack of the hotel radio, which consisted entirely of 80s music that transported the more elderly members of the tour back to their hey day when they could throw a few moves on the dance floor. (Mrs Jukes excepted of course – still as lithe and limber as in her youth #duracell_bunny).

Following on, Cantores worked through most of their sacred music portfolio, ameliorating the stress in the Bank of Bailey as Bails deftly shuffled notes and coins to maintain a working balance of change. Special mentions to Caeragh for keeping cash flow strong and Evie for bean counting. Philip Hammond and Mark Carney better be on their toes with their fiscal responsibilities or we shall send these two economic heavyweights round to put them straight – thank you ladies.

Rehearsals over, there was just time to stock up on water before we travelled to the capital Santa de Cruz for lunch and shopping. On arrival in the capital Basso took us on a short detour to see the remains of the Castello de San Cristabelo underneath a small ornamental pond and proudly informed us that Nelson didn’t conquer the Canary Islands. Wilsh decided it was time that St Christopher’s did and Ferg struck up the solo for Famba Naye immediately joined in sonorous harmonies by the rest of the choir.

Up into the town for lunch and once more the coporate behemoth that is Macdonalds held sway over several of our youth, senior Rostron included, drawing them into a life time of saccharide addiction and type 2 diabetes problems. Not all succumbed and Ollie and Millie were spotted having a light romantic lunch in the sunshine, said romance only slightly tarnished by Ollie’s rapacious feeding, wolfing down pizza like a starving man. “Watch those fingers young man, you’ll need them to hold your trombone later!”

Acoutraments bought (Ale Hop has done a roaring trade) and bellies filled, it was time to embark on phase two of the day’s itinerary. A short coach ride to La Laguna cathedral where both choirs unloaded all their concert dress into one of the ante rooms prior to one final rehearsal in situ.

There has never been a worse rehearsal in the history of the St Christopher’s choirs, nor a more displeased and somewhat panicking conductor. What had happened to the angelic voices? The diction? The tuning? The anything really? Rehearsal finished at 5.17pm with only 13 minutes for Dave and the gang to throw their dresses on, slap on a bit of make-up, and find the correct shoes in amongst 46 pairs in the changing room!

The fear in Dave’s stomach was overwhelming; what could she say to rally the morale after such a dreadfull rehearsal? Cantores lined up on the steps with her as she turned to them and said …….?? Well that is between her and the choir. They may choose to share it with you or they may not …

Mrs Jukes leapt through the door to inform Dave that they were being introduced. Where was Mrs Wareham when she was needed? Dave didn’t understand a word so she looked round the corner and Basso, realising her plight, with great subtle sign language said WAIT! Then at the appropriate moment the big beckoning hand as the audience started clapping and Cantores made their entrance!

A hush fell over the assembled audience and Dave’s stomach churned, she knew the opening bars of Caccini’s Ave Maria would set the tone of the whole concert! She looked over at Ferg; cool as a cucumber he picked up his flute and, as he and Mrs Ismail began, the most awesome sound filled the Cathedral. The choir looked amazing and, all eyes on Dave, they began to sing! Totally in tune and gorgeous harmonies soared across the cathedral, Dave working her magic and indeed working harder than she’d ever done before conducting!

Famba Naye followed and confidence grew as Cantores relaxed into the programme! Then the demanding Note Pere by Durufle! There had been an intense rehearsal the previous evening with Dave demanding much in this challenging piece. The smile on Dave’s face said it all to the choir as they looked at her, and even the basses were surprised. No Dave Stare? Could they actually be in tune? “YES thought Dave ……. at last the basses are IN TUNE!

Dave decided to speak to the audience and panicking looked to Basso to translate! He leapt to the rescue but when she realised the audience would indeed understand her Scottish twang Basso, very relieved, sat down – translating a Scot was definitely not in the job description!

Cantores finished their first half with the Haydn Little Organ Mass. with a sumptuously and totally beautiful solo in the Benedictus from the Pocket Rocket herself, Bree!

It was now time for Senior Vocals to sing! Every eye on Dave and the beautiful Lindley Ave Maria began! The girls faces expressed so beautifully the words and the beautiful blend of voices moved the audience to tears and rapturous applause as they continued with All Things Bright and Beautiful and then ……. the power went out just on the last chord! Noooooooooo thought Dave it couldn’t be going better! Bails leapt to the rescue (best idea he’d had all tour ) get a note from Ferg’s flute! The D given, the girls sang Lift Thine Eyes from Mendelsohn’s Elijah! It was entrancing and as they sang ‘from whence cometh help the power and lights returned! Divine intervention indeed! All my Trials Lord with a lovely pure solo from soprano Caeragh! The harmonies soared and reached all corners of the cathedral!

Dave then took a risk. Could she put one secular song in the programme? So Cantores rejoined the girls for the gorgeous, Chilcott Like a Singing Bird. They had never sung it so well! Dave’s smile by now was almost from ear to ear! Could things get any better – Oh yes they could!

Cantores then continued with Steal Away with an awesome solo from Mr Fulwell! But team crescendo after the chorus from the choir was incredible – hereby always to be known as The Cantores Crescendo! Continuing the amazing solos ….. Elizabeth’s pure voice rang out across the choir in Make me a Channel of your Peace and tben Hannah’s The Lord’s my Shepherd beautifully sung!

To finish with the choir sang the Hudson anthem Greater Love and then Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel! Hideously difficult piano part…… executed brilliantly by Mrs Ismail and expertly page turned by Alison!

The rapturous applause and cheers said it all …… and the beam of delight across Basso’s face! A triumph! Dave was ecstatic! How on earth could the choirs deliver that after such all dreadful rehearsal? Well they did! Dave was quite emotional …….? Was that a tiny fissure in the Scottish granite exterior? Surely not ……

A return to the hotel for dinner and then to end the most perfect day an impromptu street concert from the band! What a crowd they drew!! Trundle Monkey Stinch’s solos were superb, the trombone duo of Williams and Fulwell entertained the crowds not only with their playing but their rather nifty, hip twisting moves as they entered the crowd still playing! They were dancing up and down the street and the dancing crowds grew bigger and bigger! Butterfingers McIntyre even managed not to drop his sticks!

The Robster signalled to Dave he was leaving the platform! Rock Around the Clock drove the crowds wild and then the Robster leant over the balcony to play his trumpet solo, perhaps for the final time! (Sniff sniff)

And so the final concert on the most perfect concert tour came to an end a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from all the musicians! All due really to the expert handling of the tour and concerts by the gorgeous Basso! (We get the picture Miss D, we can’t all be blessed with tanned skin, luscious locks and beautifully white teeth!)

All musical revelries complete, all that was left to finish was the annual certification ceremony where all members of the tour receive recognition for noteworthy accomplishments during the week. No more shall be proferred up for your titillation, for this is a most revered tradition that only the initiated are privy to. So to bed with the promise of much splashing and roasting in the water park on the morrow. Adios mes amigos!

PS special mention to the office junior Fran for proof reading and pointing out numerous typos😉

Day 2 – Professional to the End

After last night’s revelries on the sea front watching fireworks and locals hurling themselves in the waves till past midnight, breakfast was a more subdued affair. Today promised to be spectacular for a few reasons, primarily for the trip to the Teide National Park but also for a significant event in the evening – that’s right, the concert in the main town square that has been prominently advertised as part of the music festival in a wonderfully glossy brochure ( take note Mr Calvert!). Oh and I think there’s a football match on or something.😉

It is said that there are some things that cross national boundaries and are a universal condition; allow me to add one more to the list – dog poo! Ritual staff humiliation of the day goes to Bails, traipsing down the coach, head bowed, ears blushing to be sent to grass verge avec baby wipes. Cue bizarre episode of a new form of “Dad dancing” – the clean shoe shuffle!

Finally underway, we were introduced to our tour guide for the park, Mary, who gave us a wonderful discourse about the rich micro-climates as we ascended the mountain. This part of the island is incredible; all manner of trees depending on how high up you are, from chestnuts to palms, pines and heather. That’s right folks, heather grows as a tree here not a bush. We also stopped off the see one of the original Stone Roses – calm down all you Madchester oldies (I mean you Mr Williams) not Ian Brown, but a volcanic rock formation caused by the rapid contraction of extruded rock pulled back on itself to create a wonderful effect.

Half way up the volcano we stopped at the visitor centre for relief and watched a short video on the geological history of the island that provoked some interesting questions that even the knowledgeable Mary couldn’t answer; however a quick call to Durham uni gave us the answer – if it erupted after the last ice age (10,000 years) it is classed as active. No frontiers of knowledge are out of bounds on a music tour #holistic_education.

Group photo with Teide in the background.

Arriving in the caldera, Miss D decided this would be a perfect opportunity to serenade the tourists with a burst of Famba Naye. After a shaky start the melodious voices blended beautifully in the still, hot air until Mary discreetly hushed everyone as loud noise is not allowed in the park; so that’s why the security patrol were getting fidgety. Singing ceased and the security man scampered off up the path to confront another noisy bunch. A close one team as I don’t think we would have enough emergency funding on Bails and Mrs J’s credit cards to post bail for twenty plus angelic disturbers of the peace!

Wandering around the caldera exposed us to some magnificent views as well as some of the more esoteric talents of our musical maestros. Who knew that rock balancing runs strong in the Williams genes (nice work boys), that Katie’s family have hair that grows better in the sunlight (something to do with photosynthesis in the Moss family I think) and Anna Szlaz demonstrating a genetic propensity for climbing that could challenge the ibex for supremacy of the slopes.

On the journey back down the volcano we spotted various features; uplifted lava eruptions with lovely obsidian veins running through them, ( I wonder if that’s why there are no white walkers on Tenerife #dragonglass), ruched curtains (I could seriously ‘rock’ a textiles degree. Lol!) of mountain rock showing the viscosity of the lava it formed from as it slowly crept down the mountainside and a rock formation called La Cinch (sic). Prize for the first to tell us why.

Upon returning to the hotel Miss D cancelled afternoon rehearsal and gave everyone the chance to partake in local cuisine and culture in the town centre.

Roll call before tea and then we were off for the night’s festivities; nobody was late for the meeting before we left, eager faces ready and expectant and keen to make haste to the venue – come on Miss D! The promise of watching the first half of the match had been made if there was a quick set up!

It’s a novelty to be able to walk to a concert venue from the hotel but one we enjoyed for our second concert! We certainly raised a few stares as Roland, Bertie Bass and 45 musicians dressed in black walked though the town to get to Plaza de Europa for the concert

As we turned the corner into the square the most amazing stage greeted us with a view out over the bay and sea! WOW was the collective thought from the team!

Thus ensued the quickest set up ever known in the history of the St Christopher’s Music Dept. “O for an England football match every concert” Miss D thought! ( well she didn’t really … after all she is Scottish!!) Bails scouted out a local cafe with big screen and the group ran to the cafe to take their seats with seconds to spare! Bails has now overtaken Dave in the most popular teacher ever stakes! Dave stayed by the stage with a few sensible non football fans but when an ENORMOUS roar was heard (you’ll always be a claret😚), Ferg the loudest of all, Dave and the rest decided they’d better give in and join the viewers! We proceeded to watch England totally control the first half and then, with full confidence in the three lions seeing out the match, it was game heads on as the jazz band did a final tune up before kicking off the concert. Soon Woodchoppers Ball echoed round the square and the audience flocked in as It Don’t Mean a Thing and Moten Swing had them clapping enthusiastically! Mr Williams on the trumpet screamed out some top notes to the delight of the crowds and Mr Fulwell got overexcited on the trombone, incurring the BIG hand of Dave to pull back a little – a cheeky little grin across his face said ‘I might’ but the renowned ‘Dave Stare’ made sure compliance was the order of the day!

Soon it was the turn of the delightful Senior Vocals to wow the crowds and the blend of harmonies and soaring top notes from the sopranos, were enchanting the assembled crowd. Yet again people moved to tears! Cantores had a hard act to follow but Miss Howard stilled the square into silence as her beautiful solo projected out across the square in ‘Homeward Bound’ ‘Tears in Heaven’ finished the set and was a real crowd pleaser with some luscious harmonies!

The jazz Band then leapt back onto the stage, the desperation to watch extra time now looming – 1-1 Mr Williams informed Miss D. How did he know?!?! Phones were not allowed on the concert platform; it would all become apparent to Miss D later when she read a tweet by his girlfriend who was keeping him updated from England with the score!!!! The realisation that pupils’ tweets were open to the scrutiny of Miss D caused Miss Southwell’s face to blanche.

The concert finished with cheers and cries of Bravo, an encore demanded and then the official press photo! More of extra time missed and yet the diehard fans. Braved it all with a professional resolve! The get out broke the all time 6 minute record and packed and ready to go we returned to the cafe for the second half of extra time.

It was heart breaking to see the bright flame of hope gutter and die in the breasts of so many young men and women as we were taken deep into the Trough of Despond. It seems football is not coming home and the mood was wryly summed up with Mr Wishaw’s comment about Miss D’s promised arrangement of the anthem “It needs rewriting in a minor key!”

An early-ish bed was ordered and the only sounds to be heard were the hushed, funereal tones from the boys’ rooms and muffled sobs from Izzy, face buried in her pillow. Football remains in exile maybe for 18 more years #Babylon.😢

Day One Proper – Southern Swing and the Sweetest Singing

Before we recount the tale of today we must first step back a few hours to Miss D’s final encouraging words before ushering forty five exhausted faces off to bed. “Do not make any noise, there are lots of other guests in thr hotel and I do not want to come downstairs to any complaints!!” A short while later as the staff retired to their rooms, raucous laughter and overly excited voices could be heard from the rooftop of the bulding – “oh boy” thought Bails, “the sixth form boys are having a party in the roof pool, we’re going to need a new bass section in Cantores when Miss D finds out” . Fortunately for all concerned it turned out to be holidaying Spaniards who continued to sing, shout, drink and argue long into the sultry night, much to everyone’s annoyance; still at least the dining room will be empty for breakfast!

Our first morning abroad and everyone arose bright and early, but some were more early than others! Mrs Jukes, ever the organised one after rising to her alarm, could be found roaming the corridors gently tapping on doors, rousing girls from their quiet slumbers. Unfortunately Samsung, in their ultimate wisdom, think Tenerife is part of mainland Spain and consequently forwarded the time on Mrs Jukes phone by an hour. Bails also has a Samsung phone and suffered the same scenario but his response was to look out of the window at the dark sky and check his watch for conformation.

After breakfast in an unusually deserted dining room we all made our way through town to the sea front to the outdoor swimming pool complex. With liberal applications of sunscreen as protection, most of the party braved the unheated water for a bit of aquatic fun as the sun began to burn through the morning haze. Megan, Ruby, Sally and others went for an explore under the careful eye of Bails. Highlights of the mission – an eight inch lizard crawling on the rocks and Naomi realising she is not built for sliding over rocks like a grey seal!

Lunch followed with the group rawing up culinary battle lines- local hand prepared delicacies or Macdonalds. In a piece of diplomacy not seen since some treaty in Versailles, Miss D organised staff to accommodate all tastes.

On to the important business of the day now; Mrs Jukes had sorted all the concert dress issues and the whole team were showered and scrubbed ready for the trip back down to the south of the island for first concert.

We arrived at Siam Mall for our first concert – just before some football match was to take place!

The heat – a baking 32 degrees!! The stage? Fab but was going to be cosy! And so the first trauma of the tour arose ; Roland had been dropped off the baggage loader into the plane, he was bruised and feeling very sorry for himself and when Miss D went to plug him in … his pins were bent!! Jeffers to the rescue with a pair of pliers ( is there nothing this boy doesn’t have on tour?) plus Miss D’s very strong marimba fingers soon had Roland feeling better again and disaster was averted! The stage piano was tested and had survived the flight thanks to Mr Bateson’s plywood case and some B & M bubble wrap!

Mrs Jukes was looking at the stage and decided to rearrange the seating as it looked untidy to her eye; she quickly got the groups into order to do this as Miss D and the band quietly , or not so quietly in Ferg’s case, dissolved into sweaty pools in the baking heat! Basso, our charismatic tour manager (steady Miss D) had expertly organised the venue and after the band tuned, an incredibly difficult task in the heat, a quick seating rehearsal took place and we were ready for the off! Woodchopper’s Ball echoed round the Mall and soon the audience began to assemble. The band then continued and the crowd grew bigger and bigger and the cheers louder and louder!

Then it was the turn of Senior Vocals who opened their programme with Lindley’s Ave Maria … a couple in the audience burst into tears as the beautiful music touched their hearts with the singing. Cantores then took their place on in front of the stage with Famba Naye ( Miss D had tried to work on some movement in the song but quickly realised that a Jukes Dance lesson was essential before the next concert …… Miss Southwell, however, moved her swinging hips like a pro and could take her place in any gospel choir!) The choirs joined together for Chilcott’s Singing Bird ….. by that stage the heat was taking its toll and more water was definitely needed! Jazz then resumed to play until the end of the concert as some rather strange dressed football fans swelled the audience ranks and the atmosphere grew even more raucous! Mr McIntyre did his best to puncture a drum skin in Sing Sing Sing and realised with the forthcoming Dave Stare that it was perhaps not such a good idea!! Rock around the clock had the crowds screaming …… or was at the impending match? The quickest get out in history then commenced …… but we’ve yet to beat our 6 minute record!! Miss D then granted permission for a slight delay in departure so that said game could be viewed ….. she was now the most popular teacher EVER!!

A late supper after the return journey was eagerly consumed before everyone went down to the sea front for a special firework display at eleven. There was just a slight delay – 12:30 am before the Virgin Mary arrived but that didn’t stop the locals partying and hurling themselves in the sea in various stages of undress. A good day rounded off with spectacular aerial chemistry!

And so it begins……

Well we’re off (and ahead of schedule to boot!!). Packing the coach this year was a doddle, even in near total darkness; no repeat of last year’s issues plagued us, with plenty of spare storage space for any miscreants on the journey down.

Following an uneventful journey down the motorway, interrupted by a surreal stop at an eerily deserted Hilton Park that felt like some kind of scene from a dystopian novel, we arrived at Gatwick in plenty of time for check in, Mrs Jukes arising from her apparent suspended animation looking annoyingly refreshed – boy, that woman could sleep on a washing line😴 After being split into groups and given strict instructions to steer clear of Spoons the team were given freedom to refuel and stretch their legs for a while.

Several hours later and it was time to check in. The BA staff (one sporting the most fabulous tonsorial adornments straight out of a victorian steampunk fantasy) were superb with our odd-sized items, giving preferential treatment to Miss D with the double bass. Through customs with nary a hiccup as all followed Miss D’s instructions to the letter. But wait, who is that we spy held up for trying to smuggle prohibited liquids through in her hand luggage – shame on you Mrs Ismail 😲.

The flight itself was boring and uneventful, just the way we like it, and checking through into the hazy sunshine was a breeze. Basso our tour guide met us outside and after minor consternation about the size of the coach storage (Fisher Price certainly get around a bit!) the team rose to the challenge and by fair means and foul managed to cram all the luggage aboard.

St Christopher’s Canaries First Visit to the Canaries

Due to the success of last year’s music tour it was decreed from on high (Miss D and Mrs J) that St Christopher’s would break with tradition and spread musical joy around our European neighbours before it becomes a little more awkward with a tour in 2018.

So my dear friends it’s that time once more to dust off passports, visit the bank for some spends and make sure all instruments are in tip-top condition. Hard travel instrument cases and carry-on sized luggage are the order of the day (take note Miss Smalley!) as we take to the air to reach our destination of Tenerife for a Club Europe musical tour first. As the big departure day dawns, frantic scrabbling for travel adapters and desperate, unanswered pleas for TARDIS like qualities of various suitcases abound in houses around East Lancashire.

Bank of Bailey suffers its first (and hopefully only) crisis as a liquidity problem with students’ funds was only resolved by a timely intervention from the Bank of Dave. Actually Bails had forgotten to take the spends out of the school safe on Friday and it was up to Miss D and Mrs J to requisition the funds themselves. Never ones to let financial meltdown to get in the way of a good wheeze, they then proceeded to worry Bails with serious texts about the situation leaving him worried over the course of Friday and Saturday morning about key holders and irate office staff. I have a feeling this may have set the tone for the Tour – fair warning has now been given ladies 😠. That’s it for now, let’s see how coach packing and midnight departures go and check back for later updates. Adios mes amigos!