Four coun­tries, four­teen cities and one Mass for in­trepid Cho­ral So­ci­ety

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS - By PÁDRAIG BYRNE

THE recent bag­gage han­dlers strike at Brus­sels air­port played ab­so­lute havoc with the very best laid plans for En­nis­cor­thy Cho­ral So­ci­ety, lead­ing them to em­bark on an adventure that in­volved four coun­tries, four­teen cities and one Mass!

The group were trav­el­ling to Ghent in Bel­gium over the bank hol­i­day week­end to per­form the Saint Oliver Plun­kett Mass by Bel­gian com­poser Ernest de Regge in St Bavo’s Cathe­dral. While some of the early trav­ellers made it to the des­ti­na­tion and were en­joy­ing a cof­fee at the ho­tel, re­ports be­gan to come in of ir­re­triev­able lug­gage and fran­tic vis­its to var­i­ous re­tail cloth­ing out­lets in Ghent. Those still to travel, at this stage, were ad­vised to bring carry-on lug­gage only. The Fri­day saw the re­main­ing choir mem­bers make their way to Dublin Air­port.

‘Most were en route when the email ar­rived to say that flights had been can­celled,’ said Cho­ral So­ci­ety chair­per­son Judy Pomeroy. ‘Even­tu­ally gath­er­ing at Desk 11 in Departures, dis­cus­sion took place with re­gard to the al­ter­na­tives. A cou­ple of re­source­ful mem­bers were swiftly us­ing up their phone credit on hold to the air­line and soon had or­gan­ised flights to Dus­sel­dorf and Frank­furt the fol­low­ing morn­ing. Some, un­der­stand­ably, de­cided to go home and one lucky so­prano who had for­got­ten her pass­port, had time to nip

back home to re­trieve it!’

Aer Lin­gus pro­vided the group with a ho­tel room and evening meal and at 4.15 a.m. they were shut­tled back to the air­port and were on their way. Ar­riv­ing in Dus­sel­dorf, one group trav­elled by train, via Cologne, Aachen and Leu­ven to Brus­sels and on­ward to Ghent ar­riv­ing at their ho­tels by 3 p.m.

The group due to have trav­elled on Satur­day morn­ing were also can­celled and rerouted first via Am­s­ter­dam and then via Dus­sel­dorf. They ar­rived in

Ghent at 9 p.m. The Frank­furt pair fol­lowed, only to have their train from Cologne to Aachen can­celled so they were di­verted via Neuss, miss­ing their con­nec­tion but even­tu­ally ar­riv­ing in Ghent at 10 p.m. There was an au­di­ble sigh of re­lief when the choir gath­ered for din­ner in Ghent on Satur­day night and on the Sun­day, they de­liv­ered a won­der­ful per­for­mance of the mass in the iconic St Bavo’s Cathe­dral, gain­ing some fan­tas­tic feed­back from their Bel­gian au­di­ence.

More dif­fi­cul­ties awaited for the re­turn jour­ney, how­ever. ‘Fif­teen mem­bers had a hair-rais­ing taxi ride to Brus­sels Air­port, and, as there was no Aer Lin­gus desk there, phones were get­ting hot on hold again as re-rout­ing was or­gan­ised by mem­bers,’ Judy said. ‘ This group trav­elled to Am­s­ter­dam, via An­twerp, Breda (where the train was di­verted due a fa­tal ac­ci­dent up the line) Dor­drecht and Rot­ter­dam and stayed overnight in Am­s­ter­dam. There was talk of kiss­ing the ground when we fi­nally landed in Dublin the next day!’ By Tues­day of last week, al­most ev­ery­one had re­turned to En­nis­cor­thy, how­ever, some are still wait­ing on their lug­gage to fol­low!

En­nis­cor­thy Cho­ral So­ci­ety at St Bavo’s Cathe­dral in Ghent. In­set: Some of the mem­bers at Cologne train sta­tion as part of their epic Euro­pean adventure!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.