Over the years, the Bothwell Philharmonic has enjoyed visits to Paris, Rome and our Twin Town, Jouy-en-Josas, just outside Versailles. When another trip was suggested, our accompanist Geoffrey Tanti pushed for Malta as his preferred destination. No surprise – Geoffrey is Maltese!
We agreed as the trip was take place in October, Malta would guarantee us some much needed Autumn sunshine and stunning venue options.
On the 14 October, 30 choir members and a motley assortment of husbands, wives and children set off for Malta.
The weather did not disappoint. Hot, sunny days with clear blue skies ensured we made the most of the many sights, historical monuments, harbour cruises and open top bus journeys. Bliss!
We had 2 performances during the 5-day stay. First in the Scots Kirk in Valletta, then at Lija Parish Church outside of Valletta. Lija is the hometown of Geoffrey, our accompanist, and this was to prove a real homecoming for him. Whilst regularly going back to the island to visit his family and friends, it had been 8 years since some of Geoffrey’s family and the locals had heard him play, so it was a packed audience for his ‘musical homecoming‘ concert in Lija.
The choir was on outstanding form with the acoustics of the 14th Century church enhancing every note. There was no doubt the choir was singing for Geoffrey. We all knew what this concert meant to him and were delighted to show his family and friends what he means to us. In addition to accompanying the choir, Geoffrey showed off his skills as an accomplished concert pianist, playing Mendelssohn’s ‘Bee’s Wedding’ and ‘First Arabesque’ by Debussy.
Following the concert the choir made its way along narrow Mediterranean style streets, enclosed on either side by honey-coloured stone houses with intricate wrought iron balconies. It was reminiscent of a movie set, picture postcard perfect! Mr and Mrs Tanti wanted to show us their appreciation by hosting a reception for us at their home. Good food, fine wine and excellent company proved a fitting end to our time in Malta.
The choir also managed to raise around 800 euros for charity projects supported by the two churches.
We aim to offer friendship and a sense of community spirit through music. If ever that was in evidence, it was in Malta.
So where next? Some suggestions are – Nice, Dubai, New York, London,Lake Garda. Watch this space!