Saturday 22 June 2013

Dunham Massey: Singing in a garden

The end of another week. A week of traffic jams and humidity. Rainy City can be less comfortable at 18 degrees than the Costa del Sol at 35 and is often grey even when warm. So how pleasant to spend a few hours enjoying the fresh air in the colourful gardens of this delightful National Trust property on a warm but not hot Friday evening. Dunham Massey: deer feeding, rabbits on the lawn, well-looked after flowerbeds, evening perfumes and birds trying to outperform us. The odd reminder that we’re not so far from the airport hardly mattered at all.  
We sang those songs that somehow go with a venue like this, some of them several times:
Blue Skies
Deep River
Kum Ba Yah
Love is the Sweetest Thing
Wonderful World
For sheer joy there was also Dance in the Street. A couple of gently-paced performances of Kiss the Girl weren’t out of place either. We did one of our quirkier ones too: well there was woodland so there might have been teddy-bears picnicking. Who knows?  But no worries, because we didn’t start singing until after six o’clock when they’d all been taken home to bed. The Long and Winding Road went down well and though we’ve performed it before in public, we seemed more confident with it this time.
We sang in front of the summer house, in the formal garden, in the courtyard and in the rose garden. It was a different acoustic experience in each place. There were enough of us for our voices to carry when we sang in the open. In the more sheltered spots we could hear ourselves more clearly. The sound in the courtyard was particularly pleasing, though the foot-stamping in Wasma didn’t quite work on the grass in the formal garden. Under the dome in the rose garden we swivelled round like weather-house dolls to face one way and then the other. At every spot the audience seemed to appear from nowhere but they looked as if they enjoyed the performance.
In the end, we sang from 6.30 until 8.30 with only a few short breaks. We didn’t really notice we were tired until we set off back to our cars. No wonder we didn’t mind working hard, though, for it was such a treat to sing in such lovely surroundings. So, we’ve been allowed to perform in yet another remarkable venue.  
Thank you for having us, Dunham Massey. Can we come back again soon?

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