Hi All Just a very short report from the hotel pc here in Exeter.
Last night was a Hayley masterclass in singing despite the very cool conditions inside this magnificent cathedral here in Exeter. The song list was identical to that in Banbury except of course for the songs chosen by the choir (The Devon County Children's Choir). Raven were also on top form once their fingers had warmed up!
The choir accompanied Hayley for the Coventry Carol and last minute Hayley decided to dispense with the microphone which was wonderful for Mark and I in the second row but not so sure for the audience at the back. I think Hayley made this considerate decision because the choir were not amplified at all being in front of the stage and the pa system would certainly have drowned them out had it been used. Nevertheless, the rendition was beautiful.
At the end there was a signing and when the queue had disappeared Mark, Peter and I were able to have a few quality moments with Hayley before they all retired to their hotel to get a well deserved rest after a tiring couple of days. Mark and I also managed a very improvised UNICEF collection during the interval and at the end whilst Hannah from Bedlam was kept busy on the merchandise desk.
Mark took several photos and also promised to post a full write up later.
ps I never realised until Mark pointed it out to me last night that in the credits at the bottom of the back page of the tour programme is mentioned HWI!
Another supurb concert last night, with Hayley on top form and a really relaxed signing afterwards. Martin has given you the highlights, so I will 'fill in' the gaps a little later, when I have eaten lunch as I have just got home after a 3 hour drive.
Anyway, in the meantime, I can confirm that HWI are mentioned in the programme for this tour, here is a scan - see the small print at the very bottom of the page....
Just to keep you going, I managed to get a few shot s of Hayley when she arrived. I think Martin will confirm that it was bitterly cold outside the cathedral and although not very good quality, I think it shows on thier faces as theyt step out of the minibus
With only Martin and myself there to greet Hayley and despite the cold, she stopped for a chat on the way in.
...I can confirm that HWI are mentioned in the programme for this tour, here is a scan - see the small print at the very bottom of the page....
Many thanks for the scan and also to you and Martin for the early reports. As a matter of interest, I Googled the initials 'HWI'. This forum is the top match (out of 281,000) and the site comes in second and third. Let's hope the rest of last night's audience reads the small print in the programme!
Thanks Roger for that info re HWI - if none of the audience take it upon themselves to google HWI, at least a few of them will be aware what HWI stands for, as the couple sitting behind me and next to Peter clearly overheard me telling Peter about it
Before The Concert/The Concert Itself
I am not sure if I had ever been to Exeter itself in the past, its a place that I have bypassed so many times on my way down south. One thing for sure, is that I didn't want to travel back after the concert, given the 3 hour journey time, so I checked in to a very comfortable hotel for the night, just 3 minutes walk from the Cathedral - infact, I had a good view of the Cathedral from my hotel bedroom window.
Front Of The Cathedral
Shame about the scaffolding!
I met up with Martin in the hotel reception around 2pm and we set out to see Hayley arrive. It was all quiet at the Cathedral although we quite soon discovered that Hannah and Andy Moore had already arrived and were busy inside. Hayley and the rest of the team arrived at almost exactly 3pm and after taking some time to decide where to best park the van, Hayley eventually appeared (see my photo above). Hayley spotted Martin and I and immediately came across to chat to us with a warm 'Hi Guys' I always find it difficult to recall exactly what was said, but certainly Hayley commented that "you must be freezing cold standing out here". Anyway, with Hayley having arrived safely, Martin & I stepped inside out of the cold for a minute whilst we waited to see Hannah to discuss helping with the UNICEF collection later on. Once dealt with, we found a nice little restaurant close to the Cathedral, where we spent the best part of an hour and a half keeping warm, eating and drinking.
Waiting for Hayley - He looks familiar
We arrived back to queue up at around 5.30pm (doors open at 6.30pm) are were the first in line. By now, it was raining v ery heavily indeed and a few others had arrived. We all huddled in the small porch but as the queue got longer, most people were getting very wet We were entertained for a while by a little girl in the queue, who was singing and telling jokes!! Everyone was chatting to each other and one girl standing near me, a student at the local university, told me that her home town was just a few miles from where I live - its a small world.
Anyway, in the end, it was actually 6.40 when we were let in, as the sound check over ran - we could clearly see and hear Hayley from where we we standing. Apart for a few reserved seats on the front row, it was first come first served and Martin and I found ourselves just to the right of the stage with an open view - absolutely ideal. Peter came along a few minutes later and sat just behind us, so our little HWI trio was complete.
As Martin has mentioned, the running order was identical to Banbury last Saturday, apart from of course the choir. Rather than getting up on stage, the 40 or so children of the choir stood at floor level, just in front of the stage, and right infront of where we were sitting. This time, they were all under the age of 11 and performed three quite complicated songs - with various harmonies etc. I have to say that I was very impressed, a lovely sound considering their ages. As Martin as mentioned, when the choir came back on to perform Coventry Carol, Hayley took a split second decision not to use the mic. Infact, she had actually sung the first few notes and then called for everyone to stop. "I think I will try this without the mic" For us on the front row, this sounded magnificent and complimented the choir's backing vocals perfectly. However, I would have loved to have been at the back for a few minutes to see how she sounded so far away.
The rest of the show went without a hitch - no broken strings or bows from Raven tonight and yes - two Encores!! I have to say that the acoustics of the Cathedral made Hayley's voice sound awesome - real spine tingling stuff at times - fantastic. I was so pleased that I managed to see one of these shows in a Cathedral.
Martin & I had arranged with Hannah that we would hold a collection for UNICEF during the interval and at the door as people left after the show. We made our way to the back of the cathedral to where Hannah was already busy selling CD's Videos and Programmes - so I guess that we had already missed the chance of a few donations! Anyway, it would seem that the decision to hold a collection the previous night at Tewkesbury was taken at the last minute as amusingly, the receptacle for the collection was a cardboard box with the top cut off and a carrier bag inside to stop the coins falling through. i21.photobucket.com/albums/b294/hdjoespics/EEjdKsU.gif Never the less, after a slow start, many people gave generously and didn't seem at all bothered that we didn't have an official collecting bucket. i21.photobucket.com/albums/b294/hdjoespics/EEjdKsU.gif
Again at the end, we made a rush for the door and managed to catch a good number of the audience as they left the building, most of who donated something.
After the main rush of those who left immediately, a line of those people who had stayed behind were gathered to one side of Hayley's signing table and were waiting patiently, as Hayley had been hijacked for autographs by the children of the choir i21.photobucket.com/albums/b294/hdjoespics/EEjdKsU.gif While we were waiting, I noticed that there was no Chair for her to sit on, so i promptly found one just in time. In the meantime, Raven had arrived and stood behind Hannah's merchandise desk to sign for their fans. Once again, Raven went down very well with the audience.
Soon Hayley arrived and the queue started moving. Hayley appeared to be very relaxed and was really enjoying meeting her fans. She was able to spend a good few minutes with each, some requesting photo's, but as usual, Hayley was happy to oblige.
I took this one when the audience had mostly all gone home, it gives you some idea of the wonderful (if a little chilly) setting for this concert
And now for my favourite shot of the evening
As I have said, the whole signing session was very relaxed and Hayley appeared to be on top form and really enjoying the interaction. Once the last person had gone, it was just Peter, Myself & Martin (oh, and Gianmarco) and I asked Hayley to sign a couple of CD's for me (one is a Christmas present for my mother-in law!) As always, when the opportunity presents itself, when its just Hayley and us, those moments that she spends chatting are very special.
Eventually, we said goodnight to Hayley and the team and enjoyed the short walk back to the hotel as the rain had stopped and the wind had dropped (i think that rhymes). As we were staying in the same hotel and to round the evening off nicely, Martin & I enjoyed a late night beer in the cosy hotel bar before calling it a night.
Many thanks for your very detailed report and for the excellent pictures, particularly your 'favourite'. From the position of Hayley's table, you did very well - I assume most were taken after the bulk of the audience had left.
I had the same problem at Tewkesbury as Hayley's and Raven's tables were at right angles to each other with people queueing from the left. This meant I had to virtually sit on Kirsty's lap to even see Hayley!
By the way, the plastic bag in your collecting box must have been an afterthough, as there wasn't one in it at Tewkesbury, although it spent all of its time on the sales table!
Sorry Grant... I'm gonna quote you again "I diverge..."
<EEK... OFF TOPIC just for a quick sec>
I wish Hayley could venture north of the Border on her current Tour just for one Scottish Concert... It was such a shame that she wasn't well enough to appear at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh last year!