The water garden at Giverny (photo: Rémi Jouan, from Wikimedia Commons)

9–16 October 2019


A musical cruise on France’s most famous river

Previous TRBC river cruises have always gone down well with singers and their partners, but the Scratch Seinesation seems to have capped them all. The feedback was astonishingly positive (examples below), and the entire trip went without a noticeable hitch. The crew of Amadeus Diamond treated us royally – the food and wine were excellent, and the service exemplary. The off-board excursions, too, were well chosen and crammed with information, especially those to Honfleur, the Normandy beaches and Giverny (Monet’s beautiful garden). We were touched in equal measure by the beautiful landscapes, history, horror of war and human artistry.

The choice of music – a booklet of French lollipops from Charpentier to Fauré, coupled with Alexander l’Estrange’s Songs of a rainbow nation (brilliant arrangements of African songs) – proved immensely popular, even if the acoustic in our rehearsal room fell some way short of ideal. There was compensation in the wonderful acoustic of l’Eglise de Notre Dame d’Auteuil in Paris, where we gave a well-received final concert. Brian Kay (conductor) and Maria Marchant (pianist) joined us for the week and ensured that the musical sessions were every bit as enjoyable as the off-boat excursions.

Brian Kay wrote: ‘… by far the best cruise we have done: great refurbished ship, great weather, gorgeous places to visit, outstanding food and altogether excellent organisation all round. And the luxury of performing in that beautiful church meant we could go home on a musical high – definitely one for the memory bank!’

Feedback from our singers:

‘I am still reeling from all the information crammed into my brain in 7 days – geographic, historic, artistic, military – and there were so many WOW moments that I’m still on a high.’ Jackie C-S.

‘I had an absolutely incredible time and I will be living on those memories for a long while. It really exceeded all my expectations, mainly due to the unbelievable Amadeus staff, but I also felt completely welcomed and at home among the TRBC group.’ Angela W.

‘This was, in our view, the best Scratch river cruise we’ve done. And, thinking of the Rhone and, especially, the Danube cruise, that’s saying something!’ Bill & Bev F.

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