Every other summer we embark on a week-long international tour to further our horizons, see the world and show them what we’re made of. All ensembles are welcome and we showcase them all in gigs and concerts wherever we have journeyed to.
While we’re on tour we also explore the local area, culture, history and nightlife so it’s a nice holiday too! Tour tends to be during July when all year groups are on their summer break. Last tour, we took an impressive cohort of 56 attendees to Malta! Previous destinations have included Lisbon, Lithuania and Budapest – it’s definitely something to look forward to and SUCH GOOD VALUE!
This academic year, we are excited to announce…
2021 tour to BARCELONA!
Our tour manager is hard at work preparing one of the best weeks of ICSM music soc’s year…watch this space for more info!
Please read on about our 2014 tour to Lisbon, Portugal.
TOUR 2014: LISBON, PORTUGAL
More affectionately known by its “Tourmageddon” as the International Hunger Games (who will die, Alex or Trent?), ICSM Music Society’s International Tour this Summer took them to the sunny city of Lisbon. As is tradition there were some issues with flights, cancellations and name changes, but other than these minor problems, everything was all set for what was sure to be a smooth tour running with few problems.
This of course was wrong from the get go. To save a significant amount of money and to continue the plan of going to Lisbon, the tour committee consisting of Vilte (Targaryen) Balcaityte and myself, and our chairperson, Alex Cox-Smith, and treasurer, Diana Newman, made the executive decision to split flights into two groups. These groups would both fly Easyjet, but at different times and different airports – inbound and outbound early group via Luton and late group via Gatwick. The Luton group ran like clockwork, flights were on time, everyone got from airport to hostel quickly and settled in well before setting off to the city centre for dinner with some smooth jazz and even smoother sangria. On the other hand, group B spent over 4 hours sitting in Gatwick airport waiting for their Easyjet aeroplane to arrive before they could set off. They finally arrived well past midnight at the hostel in surprisingly good spirits (probably after drinking a number of unsurprisingly bad spirits) with only one more issue concerning the functionality of the Easyjet toilet. Tour was finally united and ready to explore!
The next morning was chaos as everyone prepared to battle the streets and public transport of Lisbon to reach the rehearsal space in the beautiful seaside town of Cascais! Finally arriving no less than an hour late, rehearsals began for the evening concert. Inbetween rehearsals and during the spare time, people had the opportunity to shop and lie on the golden sands of the beach or possibly even go swimming. After the rehearsals, Music Society paid for a meal overlooking the idyllic seaside town in the sunset (again Sangria was not free but optional). What was not so idyllic was the huge gusts of wind which blew right through the outdoor stage of the concert, getting so bad that members of the audience had to be recruited to hold the music still! However, it didn’t stop people coming to watch, including the mayor of Cascais.
Wednesday was a free day and also two members of the tour’s birthdays! Most people decided to go and visit the local castle and take in the view of the whole city set on the river in the sunshine. No one however, mentioned the massive hills in Lisbon that were traversed to get to these views. With the evening brought the highly prestigious doctors and nurses pub crawl (with actual doctors for once), ending in a club which unfortunately the birthday tour manager was too busy napping to reach and the Treasurer losing the tour manager’s birthday present / tour mascot – Paddington Bear.
The morning after brought great hangovers and early starts with a rehearsal at the hidden gem of a Museu da Música, tucked away in a metro station. After another Music Society subsidised dinner on the river in the sun, music society returned to the museum to perform their final orchestra and choir concert, surrounded by antique instruments from days gone by.
With all the intense concerts out the way, music society decided to do a day-trip on Friday to the famous chocolate box palace of Pena and the Castle of Moors. The area is rich in history of conquerors throughout the ages who climbed and built on the incredibly exhausting to climb hills of the area. Unfortunately, due to a double booking, jazz band’s gig had to be postponed to the following night to a different nearby venue and to celebrate not a complete loss, the gang all went out to the city to discover what a night on the town could truly be like.
Saturday was another day of free time where most people headed to the beach. A relaxing day was had by all, followed by the hugely successful jazz band gig / world cup football screening. The newly opened bar was so happy to have us that the manager even gave the band all shots! This was followed by a night out in Lisbon’s greatest club, run by DJ Youtube, playing all the hits such as Bread of Heaven. Having all arrived back to the hostel minus one tram-obsessed member, the society all headed their separate ways, some to the kitchen to see if the best things in life were free and others to the outdoor shower to decide whether clothes dry faster when worn.
And on the seventh day, Music Society rested well in the knowledge that the previous night had been a great success. Where better to do this than the paid-for trip to the gloriously dark and calm Oceanarium followed by a free buffet of all the meats. Once again the night was of epic proportions to prepare everyone for the final day in which a few members including myself had to leave early whilst others decided to sample custard tarts in the local town of Belem. The next day, as before all went home on their two separate flights to contemplate what they could remember they had done and remind themselves that London is not quite as sunny as you could hope.
Chris Vaz, co-Tour Manager 2013-14