AIYF Tour Day One: "Are you the Cat's Pyjamas?"

We woke up bright and early for our first morning in Aberdeen, excited to begin our first day of performances as part of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. First stop was to head down for breakfast in the dome and as per usual as soon as we glimpsed the buffet our eyes became too big for our stomachs and we filled our plates high. Thomas managed to clear his plate with ease (as has become expected of him!) whilst we were also battling with the prospect of how to eat our yoghurts with the microscopic spoons that were the only things available. Anyway, trivial breakfast matters over and we headed back to warm up in our rooms before packing ourselves into Amanda's car. If you missed the last blog, Amanda is basically our new best friend and organiser-supremo!

This whole situation of being chauffeured around to all of our concerts was very strange but also pretty cool and a great way to see the sights of Aberdeen on our tour. We arrived at our first venue, Mark Bush Court in plenty of time and were pleasantly surprised by the huge performance space that we were given to play in. The residents were delightful to chat to and particularly took interest in Thomas' bassoon. At one point, we heard him walking over to two ladies saying "It's not a bazooka, it's a bassoon!". The performance kicked off with a Mozart Divertimento and included works ranging from Jacob to Joplin. We stayed for a quick chat with the residents afterwards before heading back to Old Aberdeen.

Before lunch, we had to pop into the AIYF offices to confirm the details of our programme for our 'Up Close and Musical' recital. When we were here Thomas noticed a rather fetching waterproof poncho hanging on the wall that looked remarkably similar to a strange object we found in our welcome packs, except that ours were just a large rectangular piece of the waterproof material. Charlie said it looked like a Twister mat! It turned out that they had accidentally put a load of ground sheets in everybody's welcome packs instead of the ponchos!

After lunch we headed to venue number two with Amanda carefully following the sat nav. We arrived pretty early but we thought we'd head in anyway. As we were waiting in the reception, a member of staff came over and exclaimed "Are you the Cat's Pyjamas?". After a few quick and confused glances at each other we realised that we were in the wrong care home! Despite our error, the staff were very pleasant and informed us that the place we were looking for was just around the corner. We were greeted at Granite Hill House - still in plenty of time - by a small but very welcoming crowd. The venue was very intimate which was nice to make the performance more personal. Amongst our programme we performed a war-related work by Biersack alongside some poignant quotes from Anne Frank's diary. We were delighted to discover that this tied in perfectly with a stunning piece of artwork that they had hung up in the performance space. We finished with a collection of Scottish songs which the residents sang along to with gusto!

After a long day's work we were buzzing with energy and were keen to make the most of our visit to Aberdeen so we headed down to the esplanade to check out the sea front. Unfortunately, our route involved navigating our way across a golf course, keeping an eye out for flying balls and seagulls overhead. However, when we reached the beach, Charlie wasn't waiting for anyone as she took off her shoes and made a dash down towards the sea. After lots of singing of "Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" and "One More Cornetto" we headed to the Arts Centre Theatre (ACT) for our first complimentary performance. And what a performance it was! We had front row seats for the Ulysses Dancers from Australia and they were spectacular. The first act was a collection of routines to a vast array of musical styles and the second half was a beautiful and witty adaptation of Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream. And to top it off, we got much more than we bargained for sitting in the front row. The performance spilled into our seats where we were all offered toffee popcorn, Charlie was sat on and Matthew even got a hug and a kiss from one of the lead characters, with lipstick marks to prove it!

So after all of that excitement we headed back to our accommodation where a 90s disco was in full swing back in the dome and Thomas and Charlie couldn't resist a dance off, despite the fact that most of the people dancing were under 16! Thomas was even challenged to a dance off by one of the dance crew and he really held his own! So as the night drew to a close and we wore ourselves out on the dance floor, we crawled back up to our beds to crash out and prepare ourselves for the next day of excitement ahead!