CARA Autumn Tour Blog 2014 Part 1: The Final Countdown…

As I jumped into the car for what seemed like the 17th errand of the day yesterday, Europe’s Final Countdown greeted me across the airwaves from Radio 2. And indeed, its only a matter of hours before the Cara Autumn 2014 tour begins in Korbach – I’m really looking forward to it!

In preparation for my time in Germany, I made two batches of pumpkin soup this week, following a recipe kindly given to me by a workshop participant at Burg Frsteneck in September. I’m hoping to see, as last year, many pumpkins on doorsteps – they made such an impression on me that I grew my own this year…

I had forgotten that i’ts not only touring that takes it out of you, it’s also the frenzied tying up of everything else in anticipation of leaving! Yet here I am, with an hour and a half to spare in Heathrow airport – plans for the next family singing workshops at Addiewell Prison now firmed up with Vox Liminis and Families Outside; tomatoes, chillies and peppers at the allotment generously watered; and two evaluation reports submitted to Creative Scotland, who funded not only the just-completed BIG Heroes Project for The BIG Project Youth Choir, but also supported my travel to perform with Cara at Dublin Irish Festival 2014. The new choir project, BIG Songs, has a focus on songwriting as well as singing, and begins the day after I return from tour, so I’m armed with lots of songwriting books to hone my own skills in the Cara van before I begin working with the talented young folk of Broomhouse.

I’ve been lucky to be able to spend time with my family this week – my mum and dad, my brand spanking new niece, Orla, her big sister and her mum and dad, and a wee babysitting sleepover for another niece and nephew. I’m storing up this family time to keep my heart warm while I’m on tour.

Yesterday evening, after gathering all the essentials for making the most of my off days (annual accounts and teal nail polish), and enjoying American style pepperoni pizza and jalapenos at Pizza Express (the one flavour I crave when I’m in Germany!), I had my final rehearsal for a few weeks with the church choir I conduct at Sacred Heart in Edinburgh. Were tackling a tricky mass at the moment, and were delighted to welcome three new members – so hastily sent late night emails with MP3s of vocal parts will hopefully do the job while I’m away – I look forward to hearing the results on my return!

All good. Bring on the tour!