From Paris to Normandy

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October 28, 2012

A good night’s sleep produced a miraculous recovery from that first l-o-o-o-ng day in France and began 1½ days of not only intensive rehearsals, but also some intensive sightseeing.

I hadn’t gotten to hear YPC’s whole program, but I DID get to hear a new YPC piece that the Polyfollia audiences are going to go crazy for—“Douce France”—with some incredible accompaniment that includes Elizabeth on trumpet and Eddie on ukelele.  So fabulous!  I’m even hearing it in my sleep.

The sights in Paris were also pretty fabulous.  First stop—where else?—the Eiffel Tower.  So familiar and so impressive in person!

From there the choristers broke up into small groups and headed out on their separate ways.  They scoured the city, not wanting to miss seeing at least some of Paris’s storied landmarks:  walks along the Seine, L’Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame, the Champs-Elysées, and one funny moment when a few of the girls spotted a beautiful, ornate palace with hundreds of people waiting in long, roped-off lines outside.  As the girls got closer, this magnificent palace turned out to be an Abercrombie & Fitch.  Who knew?

The choristers mastered the Paris subway system and savored Parisian waffles, fresh crepes, and even French pizza.

Angela Duryea, YPC Staff

October 29

The YPC choristers spent their last few hours in Paris on Monday morning continuing to sightsee and shop, while Francisco, Rose (our intrepid French translator), and Chris (who is taking all of these great pictures) taxied to the Radio France studio to be interviewed on the hour-long French radio show “Traverses du Temp” with host, producer, and YPC friend Marcel Quillèvère.

We will all get to hear the entire interview, which includes lots of YPC music on the program, on November 9 at 1 p.m. streamed from the Radio France Web site.  More details to come.

Right now we have just arrived in Normandy for the big reason we are here:  to show the music world who we are and what we can do!

The first YPC tour I went on was to Sweden six months ago.  It was the first time I traveled internationally, and it was a rewarding experience.  I have been so excited about France, a country I have always wanted to visit and have been looking forward to approaching this tour with the experience of Sweden under my belt.

I can truly say that this tour has been amazing so far.  We have had no concerts yet, but it’s been wonderful to have free time to experience Paris.  We stayed at beautiful hotel, sang a song at the Eiffel Tower, and had the freedom to explore the city in groups.  The boulangeries (bakeries) are every bit as numerous and wonderful as they are rumored to be.  Today, we took a bus to a region of Normandy,  the town of Saint Lô.  The hard work of being on tour began tonight with rehearsals by section after dinner, and over the next six days we will give five concerts.  I know this will be very challenging and demanding week, but when I look back on this trip in the years to come, I know I will have given it my all.  I am so thankful to Francisco and Elizabeth and the rest of the office staff.  They will not accept mediocrity and it pushes me not to accept less from myself.  I can’t wait to see where this week takes us.

Lindsey, 15, Concert Chorus

October 30

Busy day.  At the morning rehearsal a newspaper journalist from Ouest France came by, shot some pictures and video of the choristers singing, and did a few interviews.  The story is set to appear this week, and the video will be shown on the Ouest France Web site at  Take a look.

Lunch quickly followed, and in the afternoon we took a great bus trip to the famous Mont-Saint Michel, a village built on a rock standing in the middle of a bay topped by a Gothic abbey church.  The abbey houses an order of monks and nuns and is said to be a place of pilgrimage for the Western world.

All had fun exploring and visiting the shops at Mont-Saint Michel and in the town itself.  It was a nice respite before we all returned to dinner and more rehearsal for the big gala tomorrow night.

Photographs by Christopher Hall