Shortly after breakfast in Great Hall of Christ Church Oxford on Thursday morning, the Georgia Boy Choir strolled just up the street a half block to the City of Oxford Town Hall where they were expected for a reception in the Lord Mayor's Parlor. The current Lord Mayor, Elise Benjamin has been in office for two months, and when she learned that the Georgia Boy Choir was coming to town she invited them to come see her so she could welcome them properly herself. The boys, in two straight lines, were escorted in to her office promptly at the appointed hour. After hearing the Choir sing several songs she offered them some light refreshments that had been prepared. She took quite an interest in the boys and gave them a personal tour of the Town Hall. In the Chamber Room she sat in her official Lord Mayor's Seat, while some of the boys occupied a few of the Councilors' seats. When the tour reached the Main Hall, she asked if she might have another song, because she really wanted to hear them sing again in that beautiful room. It did not take long for the boys to oblige her request. Indeed they enjoyed singing in there as much as she appreciated listening.
Following these official duties, the boys headed out to the Christ Church Athletic Fields for a lesson in the game of Cricket. First thing is to unlearn one's habits from having played baseball. When batting, the stance is completely different, there is no strike zone, the batsman does not necessarily have to run when he hits the ball, and he can hit in any direction - even backward if possible. When pitching, well, first of all, it's not "pitching," it's bowling. So, when bowling, your arm must remain straight, you actually want the ball to bounce before it reaches the batter, and you can actually throw it (bowl it) directly at the batter. In short, there are more differences than similarities, but the Georgia Boys picked it up quite quickly and spent a marvelous couple of hours on the pitch. They are now all experienced bowlers and batsmen.
After a lunch of Cornish Pasties, which the boys have all come to love, and a short rest, it was time to return their attention once again to music. The service on Thursdays is Choral Eucharist rather than Evensong, so instead of Psalms and Evening Canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis), they are required to sing a setting of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei). For this service the Choir chose to sing the Missa de Angelis, a Plainsong (Gregorian Chant) mass. Therefore it was entirely a cappella (unaccompanied) and sung in Latin. The sound of the boys chanting in unison was eerily beautiful as it wafted to the beautiful fan-vaulted ceiling of the Cathedral.
Following the service it was dinner in the Great Hall once again. The menu was delicious, and the boys ate their fill of Deep-Fried Brie with Cranberry and Mango Salad, Lamb Topside Steaks, and Strawberry Cream Torte. It was indeed delectable.
Until next time,
The Georgia Boy Choir England Tour Team.