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Tuscany Choir Tour

07 May 2018

It was an honour and a privilege to be able to accompany the Kew Green chamber choir on their trip to Tuscany in April. I was there to keep an eye on my son and in doing so spent four memorable days with a truly charming group of children. I was taken aback by how much of a draw it was for people to see seventeen little children dressed in their school uniforms, caps and blazers. Everywhere we went people stopped to smile and point as we made our way through the cobbled streets and towns. 

In the short time that we were there, we even recruited some groupies. An elderly couple approached us while we were busking in the sun-drenched square of the hilltop town San Gimignano. They had been on the plane flying out with us and came over to comment on how well behaved and charming the children had been then. We gave them a flyer and they came to the concert, sat in the front row, smiling and cheering as the children made their way through the repertoire. 

That concert was a highlight. After rehearsing with Mr Estorninho and a rousing pep talk from Mrs Gardener, the children rose to the occasion and their voices soared in the beautiful acoustics of San Gimiginano’s 10th century Romanesque church. At one point there were 52 people in the audience which was 52 more than we were expecting.  

Another highlight was the morning spent in the company of the Lucca International School of Cookery. The children picked fresh sage from the garden and created a wondrous dish of fresh ravioli and strawberry tart.

I tried to film the final concert in Florence but somehow the camera just couldn’t capture the unique essence of the event: each child with their own unique approach to performance, and Mr Estorninho effortlessly pulling them all together. 

In Florence, our intrepid singers “earned” enough from their busking to buy a gelato each. As we soaked up the warm orange glow of the late afternoon sun, relishing the flavours, I felt how lucky I was to have been able to take time out of life to see first-hand how the children are on these adventures. 

Each child was able to truly be themselves, to express themselves. They were kind to each other, they were polite and charming to the teachers, and they never ever had to pretend to be anyone. They are caring of each other, they are accepting of difference and they reflected the values that makes KGPS such a special place. Emily C (Eli’s Mum, who came on the trip)

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