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Lennon's Room — LACC Tour of England & Scotland (Part 1)

by Lennon Leppert

As I said in my last column, this issue's Lennon's Room is about what happened on my 11-day England and Scotland tour with my choir, the Los Angeles Children's Choir (LACC). At 1:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, July 27, we all met at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, which is where we rehearse, and took two chartered buses to Los Angeles airport. Our chaperones and the choir members were arranged into groups by letters of the alphabet and each chorister was given a number. My group was "M", my number was "3". The chaperone would be "1" and then the choristers in the group were the remaining numbers - up to eight in a group. As soon as we were on the buses, Jennifer, our tour manager, took the roll call to make sure everyone was on board. This also helped us get used to the roll-call format. All 65 choristers, 13 chaperones, Jennifer, and the choir director, Anne Tomlinson and her husband, Mr. "T", were present and our trip had begun!

At the airport, Jennifer gave us our passports and we got into a long line to check our baggage. The plane trip was a nonstop flight that took about nine hours to Heathrow airport in London. The plane had mini TV's on the seat in front of you with video games, TV and movies, so the trip didn't seem as long. By the time we landed I felt sick because I only slept about 20 minutes and played video games or watched videos practically the whole flight!

London was having a heat wave that week and the buses that picked us up at the airport didn't have air conditioning, because London usually has cold weather. Because of that, we had been told to pack warm too, but the hot weather lasted all four days we were in the city! When we arrived at the hotel (Plaza on Hyde Park) we had to wait about 20 minutes to check in, then we got to go up to our rooms for 15 minutes before each chaperone group got free time. My group went to go get a Callipo, the equivalent of a pushup popsicle. Then we took a walk through Hyde Park to look at the statue of Peter Pan. After that, all of the groups took a guided walking tour of London. Although we were exhausted, Jennifer told us the best way to avoid jet lag was to stay awake and moving around until our usual bedtime. It worked, because I never got jet lag the whole trip. (Jet lag is when you aren't used to the different time zone and it makes it hard to sleep when you are supposed to. London is eight hours ahead of L.A.) On the walking tour we saw an old, narrow, cobblestone London street called Queen Anne's Gate. Some of the doorways of the houses on this street were really wide. The guide said this is because people used to go around in chairs carried on poles instead of using cabs. She told us that the term "Cherrio" came from this. If you wanted to call a chair you would yell "Chair-ho" and over time, this changed into "Cherrio". We also saw the outside of Westminster Abbey, the Parliament Building, Big Ben and of course, the Thames River. She told us that the river rises 18 feet when it's high tide! We saw a bunch of other neat buildings, but I can't remember very much because I was so tired. I did notice seeing a lot of people lying on the grass in the parks in London. I don't see that very often here at home. On Sunday we had our first performance, at a church in a tiny village, Great Missenden, about 40 miles from London. We also toured the house of famous author Roald Dahl, who wrote "James and the Giant Peach" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". His wife, Felicity, was very kind and friendly and she even helped serve us lunch in the village hall! It was very interesting to see the country; it looked like Thousand Oaks, only greener because of the rain. There is too much to tell for just one issue, so I am continuing my story to next time. Here are two photos from the trip, as well.

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