We were weary but excited when we arrived at London Gatwick late Thursday night. We’d booked a couple of mini-vans to transport us to our hotel and were pretty keen on seeing our names on those little signs as we walked through the gates. Imagine our surprise to find not one, but five drivers awaiting us. After more than a little confusion, four of us latched on to Ken, the driver seemingly most unphased by the chaos of ‘too many cars, not enough cabaret starlets’.
I quickly realised Ken was a kindred spirit when he started the van then leapt out as he’d misplaced the car park card! Ever the helpful sort, Lauren ran off to the machine to retrieve it. We were now fast friends.
As we wound through the highways south of London, we told him what we were in the UK for – practicing our pitch! Suddenly excited, he announced that he wanted us to listen to the “best choral music in the world”. (Clearly our pitch needs work if we’re giving the impression we’re classical choral, but this is beside the point for our tale). He told us in his thick London accent “I collect classical records, yeah? I’ve got over 3,000. That’s my thing.”
Before we knew it we were silent, as we entered London to the otherworldly strains of ‘The Very Best of Karl Jenkins’.
“That moment when the voices just ride the cellos, it’s perfect, yeah?” he said.
We alternately between excitable chatter and quiet appreciation for the hour long drive as he took us through his CD collection and waxed lyrical about music, chasing your dreams and his hierarchy of favourite instruments (oboe, then flute, then cello, then violin). It’s hard to describe without reverting to cliché: the feeling that all had finally fallen into place. We had arrived, to be greeted by beautiful music, epic harmonies, twinkling street lights and a true lover of music behind the wheel.
A pretty good start to the tour, that’s for sure.