Alton Concert Orchestra visit Pertuis in France!
During the bank holiday at the end of May members of Alton Concert Orchestra (ACO) travelled to Pertuis, Alton’s twin town in France, to perform with the musicians of the Orchestre Garance from the Conservatoire in Pertuis. After an early start on Saturday we arrived at lunchtime for our first stop in Aix-en-Provence, where we enjoyed an enormous market, numerous picturesque fountains and shady narrow streets to shelter from the Provençal sun.
Our numbers were increased when we arrived in France by our former conductor Graham Cross and his wife Mair. We arrived in Pertuis to a fantastic welcome from the orchestra and members of the twinning association, with wonderful weather and convivial shared meals with our french hosts during the four days. After a day of rehearsals, interrupted by a picnic lunch on the Sunday, we once again tackled Smetana’s the Moldau and played Brahms Hungarian Dance No.5 with the Orchestre Garance and a selection of pieces including Vaughan Williams English Folk Songs, the Clog Dance and the Pink Panther. Some of the ACO’s string players were able to join the Orchestre Garance during their beautiful performance of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade. There was a large audience to the concert on Sunday evening, which was even attended by some passing ramblers from Alton!
After a full day of music on Sunday, we had a day trip to the coastal town of Cassis on the Monday, visited the Calenques, inlets, by boat and were able to dip our toes in the Mediterranean.
Tuesday morning was filled with a French brunch, a tour around the picturesque streets of Pertuis and then goodbyes. Overall, it was a great experience for everyone involved and we would like to thank the twinning associations in Alton and Pertuis for their generous support and to our hosts for giving up so much of their time. We will hopefully see a return visit from the musicians of Pertuis in a couple of years! Images from the trip can be seen on the Alton Concert Orchestra Facebook page.