During the recent ASO France tour 2017 in the Poitou-Charentes area, violinist and able-linguist, Rachel Olney was able to talk to a number of the audience members following the different events. We have asked her to share some of her reflections on the tour:
“It was a purifying experience!“ said Renée, with tears in her eyes as she spoke to me after one concert during the France tour. It was an intense evening for her, as she felt the dark corners of her life contrasting with the beauty and majesty of the music. Others had no words to describe their response, but their faces were aglow with joy and wonder. I was able to speak to many guests and they were appreciative that we had be able to bring variety and excellence of music-making to their remote town.
All five concerts and the worship evening we played for were well-attended. Some listeners were church members or friends of theirs, others had come just because of flyers or posters. Each venue had its own charm, whether a town hall or a church or a splendid abbey. At the heart of the programme were various pieces about love: a Romance from Mozart‘s Horn Concerto no.3, the Puccini aria Questo Amor. A highlight for many was John Stainer’s beautiful setting of God so loved the world, for which we put down our instruments and sang a capella.
One lady who had recently lost her husband told me she felt uplifted and comforted by the concert. After another concert, we heard from the local team that around 40 of the audience accepted copies of the ‘Bible in 90 minutes’ as they left.
As we made the town of Civray our base for the week, we were pleased that on one day we were able to set time aside to give something extra to the town. We split into groups of around ten musicians and visited three old people’s homes in the town to play chamber music for them. Several listeners were moved to tears, particularly as they heard La Vie en Rose and other beautiful French tunes they recognised. Afterwards, it was great to talk with the residents about the Giver of beauty and the hope Jesus brings for eternal life.
We are very grateful for the good partnership with various local churches. We trust that God will continue to work in the lives of all those who caught a glimpse of God’s glory.