30 September 2010

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Thursday, 30th September 2010

We had a long day today, starting with a rehearsal at the Collége Genevieve Antonioz-de Gaulle, a so-called middle school for children from grade 4 to grade 9 (10 to 15 years). One of the music teachers taught us a canon, which we were to sing at the school concert after lunch. From here we were placed out to the classrooms for a two-hour session of French school lessons. Some kids had the opportunity to answer questions, whilst others had to sit quietly while 'their' classes wrote tests. We find it amazing that we still get asked about lions in the streets!

School lunch in the canteen was a wonderful experience. The 'guides' were very kind to their newfound friends and all around South African and French children were sharing tables and exchanging smiles. The concert followed after lunch. It was an interesting experience, with children coming and going as classes changed, but, I think it was largely enjoyed by all.

This afternoon we paid a visit to the museum of clocks, depicting the clock industry from its first origins to the current day. Unfortunately the lack of proper English translators prevented us from learning all we could, but it was interesting nevertheless.

We enjoyed lovingly prepared snacks at the music school this afternoon before our rehearsal in the church. This included a rehearsal with the orchestral ensemble and a surprise visit by a TV journalist. Leon enjoyed an interview and they promised to let us know when the programme would be aired, so that we can watch it on the Internet!

By 20h00 a bunch of bone-weary children were marched off to bed by their hosts, hopefully to rest enough so as to enjoy the trip to Chamonix Mt Blanc tomorrow. Hopefully the rain that set in this evening will clear to allow us some vistas of the mountains we are about to visit. The adults tried out the local French cuisine and were grateful for every contribution to their collective French vocabulary!

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