Mid July has always been an exciting time of year for me. One reason is the middle of  July is the beginning of freedom for British students. In other words, school comes to an end and the summer holidays begin! Another reason why I look forward to the middle of July is because at this time of year I get to enjoy a few days of music, laughs and adventure.

When I was aged thirteen, I joined the gospel choir at my school. The choir was something I knew I wanted to join since primary school after I had seen the choir perform at my primary school's summer fair and at a few showcases. They sounded incredible and were always the stars of the show and this made me want to be a part of it and also made me excited to begin secondary school so I could join.

Once I joined the choir I never turned back. We met every Friday lunchtime to make music and have some giggles. My closest friends were in the choir with me and it was something I looked forward to every week. Gospel gigs were exciting occasions I looked forward to and with the choir came amazing opportunities.

In September 2015, we (the choir) welcomed the England Rugby Team to the Rugby World Cup as we sang our own arrangement of 'World In Union'. It was a surreal experience and certainly something I will never forget.

 

Every year, mid July before school breaks up for the summer holidays, the choir go on tour. Previous tours I have been to Belgium, Scarborough and Disney Land Paris where we were lucky enough to perform on the main stage (something else I will never forget.)

So July is a month I look forward to as it is tour month!

However, as this year was my last ever school year, unfortunately it meant that it was my last year with the choir and therefore my last ever tour! This year it was also the ten year anniversary for the choir and as the choir's first tour was to the capital of Scotland, it seemed only fitting that this year we returned!

We went away for three days. As Scotland is around eight hours from where I live, we spent most of the first day travelling. But travelling is never boring when you're in a coach full of your closest friends and choir members. As you can imagine the coach is hardly ever silent! We also had a great coach driver (Richard!) who remained bright and breezy throughout the whole trip no matter how loud and excitable we became.

Once we finally arrived in Edinburgh, we had a quick bite at Pizza Express and then headed to our first gig in Scotland. We performed in Portobello and as always the gig was lovely, although hearing the many Scottish accents gave some contrast to hearing the familiar Yorkshire accent at our gigs. 

Back at the hotel, we went to the lobby and sang till we were asked to quieten down by the hotel staff. It wasn't as if the guests weren't enjoying our music though! Tourists in the hotel kept approaching us to ask for selfies and applauded our entertainment. 

The following day we got to enjoy a hot and sunny Edinburgh. Something, the Scottish told us, does not happen often...so we were very lucky. In our friendship groups, we began the day by exploring Edinburgh (after stopping off at Primark for some better outfit choices to suit the scorching weather). A walk down Princes Street, then through Princes gardens and up a path following Castle Rock led us to Edinburgh Castle. I had been to Edinburgh once before for New Years Eve in 2014 and had learnt that there was a great view from the castle courtyard and I wanted to share this with my friends. However once we reached the castle we learnt that this view had been blocked by an arena set up for the Royal Military Tattoo which is held at Edinburgh Castle every August. We did take the opportunity for a selfie in front of the castle though.

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However, to the right of the castle we managed to find a road that led us to a fantastic view of Edinburgh's Princes Street.

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We then set of down the Royal Mile, a mile long road that leads from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle. The Royal Mile is a popular tourist attraction and is home to many gift shops and street performers.

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As the weather was so glorious, we decided to head back to Princes Gardens for a picnic and a spot of sunbathing before meeting with the rest of the choir at the Scott's Monument.

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Next came a visit to Edinburgh Dungeons! I will admit, I was quite anxious for this part of the trip. I didn't think I would be as I have visited London Dungeons so I sort of knew what to expect but fear still got the better of me! Even so, the visit to the dungeons was one of my favourite parts of the trip as it was a good giggle and a good scare is fun from time to time, especially when with friends as you can laugh at each others screams!

After escaping the dungeons alive, we then stopped off at the Hard Rock Cafe for our dinner and then straight on the coach to Peebles for our last gig of the tour. The drive to Peebles displayed to us the beautiful Scottish countryside and we performed at Eastgate Theatre, a converted church which makes a beautiful performance space. Yet again the gig was amazing, but this one was a special one...my last ever official gospel gig (yes, I did cry) And it was a great one to end on, especially because I got to perform a solo I had always dreamed of!

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The next day was spent mostly travelling as it was time to go home but we were extremely lucky with the weather as that morning we woke up to a tremendous thunder storm! Before we left Edinburgh we made a quick stop at Scottish Parliament to have a look around and to my joy we got to stop off for fish and chips at a lovely seaside town called Bamburgh on the way home. I absolutely adore cute little seaside towns and also fish and chips so this little stop off made me very happy indeed!

And after long coach journey, quieter than usual as we were all zonked (translation: tired), came the end of my last ever gospel tour! It was a great one to end on and I had the most amazing time with my closest friends and my gospel family, all in a beautiful city (with the added extra of beautiful weather!) I'm glad I got leave gospel on a high note...see what I did there?

Emma-Rose

Longcroft Gospel Choir's official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/longcroftgospelchoir/?fref=ts

 

 

Published by Emma-Rose