Anne & Kirk Woodyard – Music and Markets Tours
For 27 years Bath has hosted the annual Mozartfest each November – 2018 will be the 28th in the series. As in all of our tours, we get to know the area well during the day, before enjoying concerts in the evening – here’s a sample day.
Bath is a perfect base for a exploring southwest England – beginning with the gracious city itself. A great way to get to know Bath is with a Sunday morning complimentary Mayor’s Guide tour. With a few minutes before the tour begins, we usher our Music and Markets guests into the Pump Room for a view of the Roman Baths below, and the glasses, awaiting the brave souls who will “take the waters”.
Beau Nash, the arbiter of taste in Bath’s heyday of the 1700s, watches over the elegant salon.
The popular Mayor of Bath’s Guides Tours are an institution in Bath, and each of the guides we’ve listened to through the years have an obvious love for their city along with an in-depth knowledge. As Andrew, our guide this morning, talks about the baths and the Romans the Abbey bells peal out a welcome to Sunday service.
I’m happy to see some lingering tinges of fall as we walk through the town – autumn remains my favorite season! From the lower town, by the Abbey and the river, we ascend to the upper town, where we’re staying with our Music and Markets guests. One of Bath’s most famous landmarks, The Crescent, was designed by architect John Wood for the city townhouse dwellers to feel that the countryside was at their door, and the wide expanse of green below the crescent still gives that sensation today.
From Bath we depart for “England’s smallest city”, delightful little Wells. The Crown, right in the market square beside the cathedral, is just the place for a traditional Sunday Roast, and we eat our fill before walking to Evensong – we’re JUST in time! And today, rather than the usual boys choir, sweet young voices of girls sing the psalms and hymns as we sit with them in the beautifully carved choir, intricate tapestries and needlework adorning the seats. Built in Early English Gothic style between the 11 and 1400s, the Cathedral is filled with awe-inspiring craftsmanship, such as the massive and unique scissor arches stabilizing the center after an earthquake left it weakened.
The Chapter House, up a well-worn stairway, is another don’t-miss part of this ancient beauty. Built in 1306, this meeting place for church affairs would have been an inspiring place to conduct business, with its delicate tracery and vaults rippling across the ceiling, supported by a central pillar that’s been likened to a giant palm tree, spreading its foliage above.
Returning to Bath in time to prepare for the evening’s events, we walk to the Assembly Rooms, where the Belcea Quartet is expanded with Adrian Brendel’s masterful cello added for Schubert’s String Quintet in C – breathtakingly beautiful music to complete our Sunday. Our enjoyment of the area will continue with days in the Cotswolds, and in tiny villages so evocative of the past that many movies have been filmed there, and more evenings of music in fabulous venues – such as the glorious Abbey.
Bath’s truly a treasure!
The best way to describe us (Kirk and Anne Woodyard) is that we’re interested in the stories that make the places we visit come alive.
We’ve visited Europe more times than we can count, learned some entertaining stories there, and met some warm and helpful people who also enjoy the wonders of music and life in Europe. We look forward to sharing these stories and friends and experiences with our Music and Markets guests.
Between our music-related travels, we split our time between our homes near Washington DC and the south of France.
While both of us have experience in organizing travel and music groups Kirk’s background is in project management and competitive writing, and Anne is an accomplished pianist with over thirty years of teaching experience, and a travel and food writer specializing in France and Italy.