Simon Pocock
Simon Pocock

Yesterday evening. the Perros-Guirec band performed at its first classical music concert solely dedicated to Verdi in the church at Rostrenen. Rostrenen is a little town situated in the department of Côtes-d’Armor, right in the centre of Brittany.

I always get a bit agoraphobic when I cross the N12 road (it’s the main dual carriageway between Brest and Rennes, and is very similar to a French motorway). For me, the Nationale N12 is the line dividing the coastal regions (to the north) and the interior of the region, which to me is a bit like in the film ”Planet of the Apes”, where the weird stuff happens.

Carole, an ex-Lannion clarinet player who is also a good friend of ours, was my driver, and although she knew the route fairly well, we still managed to almost get lost on our way.

The gig was took place in a splendid church. There were over singers 120 in the chorale (it was a combined choir from Lannion and Guingamp).

They started off by playing a half-hour session of Haendel music before our act came on stage, and then we all got together in order to perform all the Verdi, Rossini, Bezot, and Hallelujah chorus stuff together.

We ended the concert with a number called “Highland Cathedral”, which stars a bombard playing the theme: it pulls on the emotions (I would like to point out: not mine), and there were quite a few wet eyes in the church at the end.

The entire evening was an unusual experience for the ex-Lannion players like myself, as quite often we may start with a full house in the church, but when we start to play it soon empties. The biggest downside of playing with the Perros band is that we never seem to eat or drink very much (I have lost 3kgs since September) and as we practiced before the concert, it was nearly 4 hours of playing, so a glass of wine and a few nibbles don’t seem like much of a reward afterwards.

My taxi driver Carole managed to get us a little lost again on the way back home, but fortunately, we eventually saw a very welcome sign for Guingamp.

I must have known Carole for half a dozen years, but never realized until that night that she talks more than Pauline (and that’s going some, believe me!).
She did mention that her partner Remmie had a saxophone he didn’t use anymore and that perhaps he might consider loaning or even selling it, so I suggested a viewing when we arrived back in Lannion.

Recently, our oldest dog died. He was called Jimmy and he was such a lovely dog: all our guests wanted to take him home with them. I managed to resist a whole month of badgering from the family (you know: ”we need another dog to keep Bealo company”), but eventually, I gave in (women always win, it’s a well-known fact).

So, on the return trip after collecting the new member of our family, our new black puppy, Thea, I mentioned that new dog should really mean new saxophone. It’s a fair deal, isn’t it?
Therefore, a short while later, I was back at “Chez Carole”. Remmie had a look around and eventually found his dusty old sax which I’m delighted to say plays like a dream (it’s a Selmer). I was even more delighted when he agreed to loan it out and advised me that I can have first refusal.

I hardly slept that night because the excitement is on a par with having a new lover!

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