Inbetween cheeses, I ran a couple of workshops in the Paris suburb of Noisiel, under the auspices of the choir Croc Notes, and organised by my good friend Liz Strickland and her husband Albert Lecoanier. Luckily for me and for the 60 participants, I had great translaters (Albert and Alexandra) though I did attempt to make myself understood in French from time to time, and to my surprise, succeeded more or less.
The participants were really responsive, the cheese was great, the whole Paris experience (once I’d learned how to order a coffee that wasn’t thin and redolent of rancid socks) was a delight.
Hearing a Byrd motet and movements from a Palestrina mass sung by the cathedral choir amid the gothic parallels of the beautiful Saint-Eustache was sublime. That kind of music is made for that kind of space (obviously) and seemed to float in the air, it’s focal point both near yet far beyond us. Choir director Lionel Cloarec was modest about the choir's abilities, but for me it was a heavenly experience.
As well as Albert and Lionel, we made other new friends, like vivacious singer/actor Josephine Varret who acted as our guide on a couple of occasions. Before leaving Australia, I had also made a connection via email with a woman in Paris called Laurie with whom I carried on a correspondance (in French). Laurie came to the workshop, and turned out to be a clothes designer and gospel singer/songwriter from Cameroun - and a great cook as we discovered later when she made us a great African meal at her place. Looking forward to next time in Paris.
Thanks Liz, Albert, Lionel, Alexandra, Laurie and Josephine for all your help.