A day in Dunkirk

Today, the sixth day of our prestigious Belgium tour, was rather eventful, if somewhat tiring. Beginning late, as a result of our concert in Brussels the previous night, breakfast involved a daily helping of Ms Lewis' fun facts, as has now become the custom. Today, this manifested into a question as to our favourite English teacher's most loved Charles Dickens novel, and the hilarious response ‘What’s a Dickens?’ by someone whom I’m sure wishes to remain anonymous. 

Following this morning laugh, there was a rush to pack our bags and move away from Watou. 

However, before meeting our new accommodation, which incidentally is fantastic, we had the opportunity to momentarily roam around a lovely town on the French side of the border by the name of Cassel. It was precisely the stereotypical, romantic, old village one would expect when visiting France. Located up on a mountain, or as near to one that can be found in this part of the world, the surrounding farms below were beautifully shrouded in fog, providing the perfect backdrop for an enlightening history lesson on World War I, courtesy of Mr Mastro. 

Moving from this wonderful scenery to yet another filling lunch and on to our new accommodation, cloaked in the woods of Kemmel, we were treated to a much needed nap, followed quickly by another delicious meal. 

Thus it came to the most important part of the day, the performance at Dunkirk. We did not have much time to see the city, perhaps more famous to our generation for the film itself as opposed to the actual battle that occurred here. That said, the Church of Saint Eloi provided a beautiful backdrop and excellent acoustics for the concert. Tonight, we also had the pleasure of hearing from three other choirs as they gave their first performances for this festival; Les Filles du Sacré - cœur from Japan, Schola Gregoriana de Bogotá from Colombia and Graces and Voices, an international group.

It was certainly very interesting to hear how Gregorian chant and related music has been interpreted in countries where you would least expect such content to be sung. Our repertoire consisted of an introit: Intret in conspéctu tuo, a Gloria by Benjamin Britten, an Offetory: Si ambula vero, Sepulto Domino by Victoria and For the Fallen by Douglas Guest. We were rather proud of our performance, until the Organ finale of the concert put us all to shame with its sheer volume and vigour, making for an interesting end of the concert, and the day as a whole.

— Edward Lawrence (year 11)

The Choristers line up before singing at the concert in the Église saint-Eloi in Dunkirk.

The Choir performs at the église Saint-Eloi in Dunkirk.