After travelling for 8 hours on our coach, or bus, depending on where you live (buses for us London people are big red crowded things in which many passengers stand. But coaches are nice and comfy and everyone sits, unless they are going to the toilet, or restroom, depending where you live). Anyhow we arrived at our first actual hotel of the tour and began settling in and preparing for the concert the next day at the lovely Cathedral Basilica of St Louis.
Arriving at a new hotel does not mean arriving at a hotel room because the keys, or usually key cards have to be got from the desk place after Barbara, or Eleanor, or Angelika have talked to the desk person who is always smiling for some of the time. It takes quite a long time while most boys play cards or exercise our thumbs. Then 40 people and about 160 cases have to be carried or wheeled into, usually, not many lifts, going to many different floors at the same time as lots of other non Libera ordinary people are going in other directions and not smiling very much. I am, in fact, larger than my case. But some boys are not, and so they are not so quick at moving their luggage. Actually, we are quite used to getting into hotels and go up in our floor groups, but then usually someone gets to a room and finds the extra bed that is meant to be there is not there, or the key card doesn’t work, or the room has someone else in it (yes that happened this year!), so they come back down again and meet the other people coming up etc etc ……
We had already eaten during the journey so we went to bed quite soon. But when dawn did show its glistening eyes upon the city of St Louis, notice my poetry, we did awaken to a delicious breakfast and headed to a favourite place of ours: Target. This is something that is in America but not much in the UK or other countries we go to. It is not a place for archery or shooting at a target, but a large shop about 3 miles wide (4.82803 kilometres depending where you live) with more or less everything in the world in it. But particularly for us it has games, and toys, and sports stuff, and tech and Lego and sweets, which we need to spend money on. We bought many a gift, for us and for our families back home, and maybe just a tad too many sweets. Then we went bowling and then met some of our amazing Libera supporters. But soon it was time to go to the massive Basilica for our practise with the orchestra and soundcheck – and the sound we checked was incredible with a long echo. After some much-needed food and rest we went on stage and performed the concert – and we were very careful not to spill our drinks down our nice white robes in the interval. There was a wonderful big audience, and many people stayed at the end to meet us and for us to sign programmes and things like that.
Although we do it a lot, it is quite amazing to sing to a large audience in a lovely cathedral or church or hall, and know that they are, kind of, with us and supporting us, but also listening and, in a nice way, judging us – so we have to be really good, in tune, blending, not forgetting the words or mixing up the voice part we sang last year with the one we are singing now since we got larger this year – and doing all that without much seeing the people listening on account of the lights which shine towards us, so that the audience go dark. But then, not like singing in a mass, we have the extra reward of usually loads of clapping, and friendly applause noises, and, actually at every concert on this tour, a standing ovation at the end and after the encore. Thank you, nice audiences!
Anyhow, I digress, next day, after a good morning meal we continued a very good day with a visit to the wacky world of the CITY MUSEUM in St Louis which is a MAD PLACE, like out of some person’s crazy dream – with a huge outside playground – a maze – a castle thingy that looked like an embodiment of a Beatles’ song – a secret tunnel system with crawling tubes in the ceilings – a plane hanging on the side of the building – slides between the floors – and so much more that we could never see or do everything in one visit. It was a great place for us for sure. We crawled and slid, climbed and ran, threw and rolled (in the ball pit) and then because we were not at all tired out, we left the museum and went to the most beautiful creation of man, a TRAMPOLINE PARK! We checked in and then bounced and played and did gladiatorial combat over a pit of molten lava – well actually it was lumps of grey foam rubber. Thoroughly spent for the day we returned to basecamp hotel and rested all but our thumbs before a movie and a good rest.Waking up the following morning we headed to our lovely coach piloted by the brilliant Joe. He was our driver right through from the start of the tour up to when we had to get on another plane – see Blog Part 3 – to get to Los Angeles – because Joe could not also fly a plane. The coach was familiar to us as we embarked upon our second 8-hour journey. We stopped off at a few choice locations where many sweets and strange pillows were purchased and the best two companies in the entirety of northern America were visited – I am of course talking about… SUBWAY and GOLDEN CORRAL. The deliciousness of their sandwiches and the latter’s platters of buffets filled us with vigour and pomp or something and so we journeyed to Oklahoma and after a movie on the coach we drifted into dreams of buffets and filled bread.
‘Oh what a beautiful mornin’, oh what a beautiful day, I got a beautiful feeling everything’s goin’ ma waa-aaay oh what a beautiful dayyyyyyyyyyy………’ I actually know that song comes from a show called ‘Oklahoma’ which is where we were. Sadly, we didn’t sing that in Oklahoma but worry not I shall put in a word. But actually, maybe I won’t because people in Oklahoma might be quite fed up with people singing that. Anyway, after a delicious breakfast, a good morning brew, we headed off to a nearby indoor football field (proper football place with massive time clocks and score boards operated by remote control) and played some tense and exciting games with skill levels close to those of the England football team at least, and after this spiffing bit of amusement we headed to the lovely venue for our concert. This church had a quite different acoustic from St Louis – in fact, it was about as much different as you could have, with zero echo or even less, the notes seemed to stop before you stopped singing them. So we had to make our ears listen differently from most places we sing, but in some ways it makes it easy to hear exactly what is going on but shows up anything that is wrong – so we hope nothing was. The concert was made more interesting by a large screen above the stage which was used to project various images during the songs which we were not meant to look at under any circumstance whatsoever at all even slightly no seriously not at all – which I suppose is OK seeing as the screen was behind us and the audience was in front. Following an excellent concert and great audience we signed yet more programmes before a snack after which we retired to our hotel for a night of deeeeeep sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep.