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June 2019
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2006-06-28 a message from James

Hi everyone,


Hope you are all well? Hope the weather is as nice as it is here in Wicklow today. Played 2 hours of tennis this morning, and I won! I am such a bad loser, always have been, so it is important that I win. I don't care about the taking part at all... (Ok, just in case there are concerned replies, I AM joking). Loving getting back into my tennis after all these years. Tonight I am going to have a swim - 80 lengths I hope - today is a healthy day...

Thank you to John for writing such an eloquent review for Kilcullen. Not sure I deserved the accolades I received, but I will humbly accept them nonetheless. I am glad someone pointed out "De Banks" ("The Banks of my own lovely Lee"). This has had such nice mentions, maybe it is one we ought to do...Hmm... Thanks also for singling out David - he deserves that and SO much more. You didn't mention the fact that I sang the wrong town name in "Ireland's Call"? Killucan instead of Killcullen?? Not far away, but not the right name. Great to see so many of you there.

Niall DID sing "She moved through the fair" once or twice, with us on harmonies. We possibly should also sing that, but is it not sort of done to death a little? Everyone sings it?

As the links keep coming for the concerts I look at the list and wonder if we will have space soon for all these concerts. Our diary already seems so full.

Great to see SO many of you in Munich on Sunday. It was an early start for us all. I got up at 3.30 am (not ideal for the day of a concert in another country!). My neighbours were going on holidays, and so I drove them to the airport for their flight to Milan and on to Lake Garda (Mmmm, nice). We had breakfast at 5.30am in the airport, then flight to Munich, to hotel, and on to a full sound check and full orchestral rehearsal. Brunnenhof was stunning as a venue. I will perhaps send a picture later, though I am sure there are many already? We had a very Bavarian dinner (especially David who had the "Bavarian plate special). I like the red cabbage too, but never fully convinced by those glutinous balls of potato/gnocchi dinksbumps!!

And then, what kind of night was that, eh?????? Certainly a baptism by fire for Daryl. Poor guy arrived from Zurich for a full rehearsal, having learned thousands of words and harmonies by heart. He was word-perfect and harmony-perfect. After 5 songs on the night, as we introduced Donna to the stage, the heavens opened. What followed was almost like an inland Tsunami. We had been told it MIGHT rain. But we didn't think that meant flying umbrellas, chairs and music stands. There were even mini-sandstorms, and things were thrown violently about the place (and that was only backstage :-)) Thankfully, in Brunnenhof, there is a stunning concert hall, the kind we would love to have a few of in Ireland!! But for Daryl, it was almost like us saying, ok you have passed the outdoor test. You know your words, your harmonies etc, now see if you can sing acoustic too! Oh and, just to make it even harder, let's invite one of your tenor heroes - Francisco Araiza - to sit in the front row. I could not believe I was singing to someone who I have admired for decades. His Ferrando in "Cosi" is almost definitive. It was far from ideal. It was not our best concert by a long way. But under very trying circumstances, I think we did ok really. And Daryl was a hero, considering he had had a bit of a day from hell. It can only be easier for him from hereon in.

Now this week he has his final showcase concert in Zurich, then a week's holiday, then back for some corporate work, and LOTS of rehearsals of MANY new songs, yes you read that correctly, NEW SONGS. So watch this space.

We spent a lot of time with Francisco Araiza after the concert, and he is lovely. We had a reception too, and also photos for Da Capo TV and magazine. A little interview too. Great to have met so many of you after the concert. And we only briefly saw some of you. Please forgive us.

We had a very positive meeting with a promoter the following morning, and it really DOES look like we will be back in Germany next year, so watch this space.

Also for you Dutch, as well as the tour in February, we have been asked to do a concert in the MAIN hall at the Concertgebouw next August (probably 18th or 21st). Only pencilled in now, but a definite request. I am sure there is much more to say too, but this is a record-long email. Are you impressed??? Hope so.

Love to each and every one of you,