Sunset on Portugal’s beautiful ‘River of Gold’

16–23 March 2018


One of the great things about TRBC trips is the musical dimension – if the weather is bad or excursions are changed, we still have the singing, which is probably the main reason we signed up in the first place.  So when the authorities cancelled sailing for passenger vessels on the River Douro due to strong currents and high water levels, the disappointment at not cruising was made up for by the music. We just went on singing and sampling the port! The crews on the five-star river boat Douro Serenity and her sister ship the Douro Elegance pulled out all the stops and wined and dined us in lavish style; our excursions were re-organised; our impressive young pianist Maria Marchant gave a short recital especially for us, and we ourselves gave a short concert ashore in St James Anglican Church.

The music we studied and performed was from a volume of English madrigals, sung unaccompanied, and Bob Chilcott’s Dances of Time – a set of part-songs with texts on the subject of time and music derived from different dance-forms. As with all Bob’s music this is inventive, tuneful and approachable, and was originally written for the TRBC’s genial principal conductor, Brian Kay, who was our musical mentor for the trip.

So we enjoyed our ‘cruise’, even if it never left the shore!

‘What a wonderful time we all enjoyed – definitely an experience with a difference’ (Christine S)

‘The cruise was the best holiday I have had since my husband died 8 years ago – I think the adversity brought everyone together and I really felt included’ (Hilary B)

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