The Village Voices has performed locally from its beginning and nationally and internationally since 2002. There have been performances in the San Jose downtown area, in the Sacramento Valley, on the East Coast and Mid America and overseas. So we will have a viable performance group, every member is expected to participate unless physically or financially unable. It is one of the great pleasures of being a part of the Village Voices.
ITALY APRIL 2002
Our first tour, an Italian concert adventure, included visits to Rome, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Venice, Verona, and Milano. We sang concerts in cathedrals in Rome, Florence, and Venice and saw numerous sites including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, St. Mark’s Square, The Doges Palace, Michelangelo’s
David, The Coliseum, The Vatican, Sistine Chapel, La Scala and the Last Supper
We sang to the gathered crowd under Juliet’s Balcony in Verona and lingered in the picturesque Tuscan village of Siena. Our delightful Italian speaking English guide greeted us cheerily every morning with “Good mornin’, ev’rybiddy.” Beth Murphy spent an extra six weeks in Italy after she busted a hotel flower pot with a body slam and we all remember Phyllis McDonnell crawling through the hospital basement catacombs after visiting hours to check on her.
IRELAND FALL OF 2007
Our 2007 trip to Ireland, Wales and England was one of the most delightful trips we have taken. We expected rain to accompany us since it was October but the weather was delightful all the way. Our guide was very knowledgeable and full of Lepricon humor. We exchanged songs and limericks along the way much to the delight of all. We saw the Cliffs of Mohr , the Ring of Kerry, the Waterford Factory and all had a chance to kiss the Blarney Stone. In Wales we visited Conwy Castle and rode the train up Snowdonia In England we visited Stratford and toured London’s magnificent sights. Musical highlights included a concert in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, a visit to a Welsh Men’s choir rehearsal near Llandidno, Wales and sitting in the choir loft during a service in Westminster Abbey.
RHINE CRUISE SPRING 2008
The tour prior to the Spring concerts in 2008 wasdown the Rhine River with three additional days in Switzerland. Unfortunately there were not enough singers to make up a balanced choir, but it was still one of the most wonderful trips we have taken. It was so wonderful that there will probably be a river cruise again in the future.
The trip started with three days in Lucerne, Switzerland. We toured Lucerne and had the privilege of visiting Richard Wagner’s beautiful lakeside homethere. Most of the group also took an optional trip via Eurostar and cog rail trains and ski lifts to the highest accessible point on the Matterhorn.
Following Lucerne we cruised the Rhine beginning in Basel, Switzerland. After processing through a number of locks downstream we arrived in Strasbourg, France where we saw the amazing Astronomical Clock in the Cathedral on a snowy day. Hot chocolate warmed us up back at the ship. That night George Murray was declared the sexiest man on the ship. We sailed next up the Mosel River to the quaint town of Cochem, Germany and visited the delightful Cochem Castle with its magnificent views of the Mosel below, then Rudesheim Cologne, and Amsterdam.
CANADA and NEW ENGLAND OCTOBER 2003
Our cruise on the Regal Princess began in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and featured topiary gardens near the ship’s berth, and the Geodesic Dome and Block Housing from the 1967 Exposition.
Quebec City, Quebec offered wonderful views in the city including the magnificent hilltop Chateau Hotel. Halifax, Nova Scotia was working hard to repair damage of a severe hurricane that preceded us. At Peggy’s Cove docks were destroyed, but the lighthouse was undamaged. At St. John, New Brunswick, the Reversing Falls were at slack tide, but the autumn leaves were a compensation attraction.
Bar Harbor, Maine also welcomed us with Fall colors. On Sunday in Boston, Massachusetts despite the rain, it was an appropriate time to contribute our songs at a worship service in a large church. We had already had a very appreciative audience when we did a full program aboard the Regal Princess.
Newport, Rhode Island had a harbor full of interesting boats including Courageous, the Americas Cup challenger. We arrived in New York City well before dawn, but the chorus was on deck to sing some patriotic songs as we sailed past the Statue of Liberty. New York rewarded us with a spectacular sunrise
MISSISSIPPI RIVER CRUISE APRIL 2005
Memphis, Tennessee was the start of our sternwheeler trip down the “Old Muddy” to New Orleans. Here, we visited Elvis Presley’s Graceland and the Civil Rights Museum. Small and quiet Natchez, Mississippi with beautiful homes and a truly spectacular Catholic Church was our first stop downriver.
St. Francisville, Louisiana had lovely inns. In Baton Rouge we sang at a Baptist Church and visited plantation homes. The Wyndham in New Orleans had great views from our rooms. In New Orleans we sang at one of the shopping centers. The city offered options ranging from a swamp tour to the usual urban delights. The most spectacular plantation home of the entire trip,Oak Alley,was in this area.
Our trip down the river was enhanced by the daily programs offered by the“Riverlorian,” a man who had spent most of his life on the Mississippi and had an unlimited fund of interesting stories.
Our best musical experiences included practicing in the Paddlewheel Lounge by the rotating paddle wheel and the appreciative audience for a full concert in the main salon of the boat. Singing to standing room only audience on Regal Yodelers at highest ski lift point on Matterhorn We sang at Mary Meech's nephew's church in Baton Rouge
SALT LAKE CITY 2007
Since 2007 a schedule of Domestic trips has alternated annually with International Trips. The first of these was in that Spring, when almost 60 members of the group traveled to Salt Lake City to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir present the oratorio “Elijah” under the direction of Craig Jessup and featuring the magnificent Welsh bass, Bryn Terfel
Along the way, the group stopped in Reno, sang in a nursing home in Winnemucca, sang in a joint concert with the local high school in Elko and sang in the California State Capitol rotunda. Along the way, much fun was had by all singing along on the bus with a harmonica tape made especially for the group by Bill Rodman and enjoying everyone’s favorite jokes in an impromptu comedy hour or two.
Locally elements of the choir have divided responsibilities for Christmas carol singing for the San Jose Ballet and also gave a Spring concert at First Christian Church in Modesto.Local tours were planned last year following our 2009 Christmas Concert for a day trip to Sacramento to sing Christmas music in the State Capitol Rotunda. Following the concert we spent a couple of hours in Sacramento’s Christmas decorated Old Townfor shopping, lunch or visiting museums on our own Every individual voice contributed to the balance and was important to the success of the venture.
As indicated, members are expected to make every effort to participate in these trips. They are important in building our esprit de corps, encouraging confidence in our abilities, and entertaining the audiences who hear us. Trips are paid for individually by each member
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