Here's the latest from LSC in Riga.
We've just got back from Salaspils Concentration Camp, about fifteen miles from Riga - and the site of the murder of over 200,000 innocent civilans by the Nazis. This was a truly extraordinary experience - after passing under a huge concrete slab bearing the words 'Beyond These Gates the Earth Moans', we found a clearing in a small copse, and sang Gregorio Allegri's Miserere Mei, something I and the LSC members won't forget in a hurry. The site seems strangely beautiful and almost uplifing; sculptures reinforcing a sense of humanity that you wouldn't associate with the scene of such a terrible atrocity.
Lunchtime today saw our first concert - at St Saviour's Church on the banks of the river. You couldn't wish for a better acoustic (we've been rehearsing and recording there all week), and as we emerged onto the platform from downstairs the site of almost 80 people in the audience was very encouraging. They didn't want us to stop when we finished our last piece. We weren't expecting foot-stamping and cheering, and I wasn't expecting to be presented with a huge sunflower by way of thanks from the Church's Organist Kristina - but we got both. After some very late nights we were all getting a bit tired, and this gave us a welcome boost. Listening to the live recordings on the train to Salaspils, I can ensure anyone who's purchased our tour CD that they are in for a treat and a bargain.
The journey to Salaspils gave us the chance to get slightly off the tourist trail, and this is where you see the parts of Riga that don't feature in the guidebooks. There's a soviet air to the buildings and subways of the outskirts of the city that remind you you're not in France or Italy.
Something tells me that tonight is going to be a big one for food and drink, so I'll have to leave it there and catch up with my lovely singers. Talking of whom, they've been somewhat slow to take up the offer of blogging themselves. I'll see if I can do any bargaining tonight after a few pints of Zelta!