Jesus having been risen indeed, we found a sufficiently compelling reason to rise ourselves at 6 am a few Saturdays ago and board an enormous coach bus full of French preteens bound for Chartres. Karl had a gig with a youth choir with energy to burn - and sugar too, judging from the bags of candy good-naturedly passed 'round during the rumbling hour-long voyage. It must have been Easter or something.
Our friends Charles and Magali direct this exuberant group of kids to sing and dance for the glory of God all over France. Karl has now become a fixture in the talented band, playing organ and keyboard parts. This project has recently taken them to Nantes, Chartres, Paray-le-Monial, and will soon bring them further afield. Sometimes this "in-house" roadie gets to tag along.
The day began and ended with chill and rain, with a very short burst of sun in the afternoon. This is typical French weather for March, called "giboulee de Mars", which I might translate as "stinging bits of cold interspersed with equally stinging bits of sunshine". At any rate, not the most promising weather for a festival. Still, the main event was safe under the tent.
The drizzle did put us in the proper mood for the somber atmosphere of the famous Chartres cathedral, which was all dressed up in its mourning veils for Holy Saturday. I dragged another supportive-yet-bored band wife (I mean, roadie) along with me to glimpse the glorious windows. The Bible and other stories laid out in brilliant, gem-like designs. Speaking of which, if you ever get the chance to visit a cathedral with a jeweler, jump at the chance. It's simply fascinating to see large-scale design through their eyes. My companion was equally fascinated by my interest in French medieval literature. How on earth does an American come to study such things? (I have no idea.)
The excitement for the evening's performance built and built, even as the darkness fell and the wind picked up to near-Minnesota bitterness. Cosy and snug in the warmth of a crowd, I watched as Karl and Charles and the band, and a crowd of smiling young bouncing people poured out their best to a full house. They did spectacularly, every one of them from the smallest to the greatest.
The bus was...a little late. We didn't get back into Paris and snug in our warm beds until 2 am or so, so Easter morning was a smörgåsbord of "fat morning" (grasse matinee in French, which means sleeping in) and refreshing victuals for breakfast. Happy (late) Easter everyone!