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Photos of the tour

Click the links below to see the day-by-day collections of tour photos.

Unterhaching Partnerstaedte logo

Voice Box thanks Bernie and all the members of Unterhaching's twinning committee who gave us such a warm welcome and so much practical help.

We also thank Witney Town Council for their generous support.

Witney Town Council crest
Unterhaching song Liz B ps

The Unterhaching Song, by Liz B.

Click the image to enlarge.

DSC_0083

The creative process ....

Germany May 2013

Musical Director Lesley Morris writes:

In May 2013, nineteen members of Voice Box choir travelled to Germany to join with the Gospelchor Altogether of Unterhaching (directed by Andy Wimmer) - for an amazingly full weekend of music, friendship, food, beer, fun and more music. It cemented old friendships and made new friendships with the members of Altogether and some of their families.

We were met at the airport by Bernie, from the twinning committee (Witney – Unterhaching) and Armin, from the gospel choir, who has been the email contact between the choirs, along with Liz and Izzie from Voice Box. The concert was held on Friday evening with VB performing for the first half and AGC taking the second half but VB going back on stage for a joint joyous and exuberant finale!

Having arrived late Thursday evening we rose slowly in the morning with a sumptuous and leisurely breakfast (this took at least an hour and a half as many of us had 3 courses, which quickly became a habit). Many thanks to Kirsty for booking and organising the hotel for us all – everyone settling in perfectly. We gathered at the venue for rehearsal and ‘sound checks’, and were somewhat taken by surprise at the amplification set-up by the other choir. However, we are adaptable and not frightened off easily, so soon got used to choir mikes and the loudness of the piano being fed back to us. Altogether also had an accompanying band with their lovely selection of Gospel numbers (including some played in Sister Act), and their drummers joined in with our swing numbers – it was great! Pretzels and juice were provided between the sound check and the concert.

The concert itself was a complete success in every way – the hall was jam-packed, people were standing at the back and outside the German ‘French’ windows. Our 40 minute ‘set’ went perfectly, and everyone sang well, from the first ‘du’ of the Bach, right to the very last note! Soloists sounded clear and clean, and the musical lines came together. Words were all remembered. You looked happy, smart and confident, and sounded great. The programme was varied and received really well by the audience. Keith and I felt SO PROUD of you all!

The Party afterwards was a riot of fun, and showed that the concert itself was merely the first step in a wonderful evening of joyous music making. Our German friends provided a sumptuous feast of home-cooked food, and plentiful beer and wine. Once the second round of singing started, the two choirs spontaneously took it in turn leading songs, sometimes new to each other, sometimes known to both groups but sung in different languages – e.g. ‘Where have all the flowers gone?’.
There was also some dancing to the Elvis and Beatles numbers …. a lot of energy was in the room.

Andy and Keith had great fun leading the singing and playing four- hand piano accompaniments and jacking up the key every few bars adding great excitement to the singing ........What a night!

The following two days we were cared for brilliantly by our hosts. We had a bus tour round Munich with lunch in the Ratskeller – incredibly delicious and varied, catering for all tastes. Some people then went shopping, and resumed the bus tour, while others had a tour of the Neue Pinakothek with Friedericke, (Armin’s wife, who is an art historian) – it makes such a difference having someone so knowledgeable talking about a subject they know and love so well.

We were all exhausted by the end of the day, especially after such a late night the night before, but we managed to gather together for a wonderful dinner at the hotel in the evening – still discussing the glories of the concert and afterwards a few stalwarts even made it to the bar for a nightcap.

The next day we gathered for a brunch of sausage, pretzels, beer and jazz at the church, out in the hot sunshine, with families from both the church and the Gospel choir before heading for the mountains above Lake Tegernsee. The group climbed into small cable cars to go up the mountain with varying degrees of anxiety. Once at the top, we divided into two groups - some had a leisurely stroll round the little chapel and a second lunch with a wonderful scenic view, while the second group led by Wolfgang and Thomas decided to complete the ascent to the summit where, after recovering our breath, we sang at the tops of our voices several of the joint songs from the concert. Unbeknown to us, Reg was recording us on his phone from his perch on a neighbouring peak!

On the way back to the hotel we paused at Durnbach War Cemetery where we looked for, and found, the grave of Granville Lister (Lancaster rear gunner) and uncle of Sue MacMillan. It was a profound moment as we stood together with our German friends, and chanted a Kyrie for Granville, and remembered all the young men who had fought and died. We were all touched by it and the birds sang with us while we chanted.

We finished the day with a Chinese meal next door to the hotel – we were joined again by Thomas, Wolfgang (whose Birthday it was) and Karin, and had a truly triumphant meal, concluding with singing ‘Keep you in Peace’ as we left, which Keith accompanied on the restaurant’s honkytonk piano, before we made our final farewells.

The last morning we mooched around Munich watching the glockenspiel and eating cakes at the Café Rischart.

A group of exhilarated, leg-aching, sleepy, exhausted, happy singers boarded the plane home, and slept (we have the photos), dreaming of moments of triumph, friendship, closeness, and musical accomplishment that were truly all that a choir could desire.

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