Day 14

We arose bright and early from our very comfortable hotel beds to embark on our three-show day in Norfolk, VA. After an exquisite hotel breakfast early in the morning, despite our exhaustion we made our way to Norfolk Academy where we had our first student outreach (a 45 minute abridged version of our full show) performing in front of the middle school there. We were met with such great enthusiasm by the children of Norfolk academy, and when greeting them after the show they were eager to get pictures and lots of stickers! (Nearly breaking our sticker bank I might add).

After a mere half an hour break we were back on stage performing for the senior school. Highlights of this performance include a mid-show standing ovation for the solo of our incredible beatboxer Max – the students we greeted afterwards were seemingly in awe of the ‘inhuman noises’ Max is able to make.

After this second 45 minute show we had a three hour break for lunch, during which we ate at the amazing hotel restaurant ‘Saltine’ which specialised in seafood, just like many restaurants in the naval city of Norfolk.

After lunch every member of the group retreated to their rooms for a short siesta to recharge before our full hour and a half show at 7:30 that evening.

The crowd at Norfolk Academy that evening were just as enthusiastic as the children earlier in the day and just as large in number! The show went by without any major hiccups at all. One particular highlight was our closing song, Crave (from the film Hidden Figures), because it has ties to the local area: Pharrell Williams, the artist, was born just a few miles from the venue, and the film is about a NASA base just outside of Norfolk – so the song had an amazing reception!

At the post-show reception we greeted the audience and had drinks, chocolates and canapés kindly provided by the Virginia Arts Festival. It was also lovely to meet some of the VAF staff and sponsors that the group had met a few years ago. After a long and exhausting yet rewarding day of performing, we arrived back at our hotel and promptly fell asleep in order that we could fully enjoy our day off in Norfolk the next day.

Chad x

Day 15

A note from the Editor: a full day of sightseeing and exploring in Norfolk meant that we all separated into many smaller groups: so in the interests of capturing all the events, this blog has multiple authors, each describing their respective days. Enjoy! H x

Henry:

After a group brunch at the Granby Street Bistro and Deli (much sought-after by us oldies, following our delicious brunch there two years ago), some of the group went for an explore around the downtown waterfront city area, making the most of the Naval Base views, particularly impressed by the USS Wisconsin. Others headed off to the beautiful Norfolk Library to get some degree work done (how sensible of them). Later in the day, a few keen photo/video fanatics headed out to get some pictures of the beautiful sunset across the harbour before dinner.

Ludo:

Whilst some of the group ventured further afield to explore, Ryan, Westy, Max and I only made it as far as the fifth floor of the hotel, which coincidentally housed the pool. There began some pool games, which we played for over an hour, even enticing other people to join us along the way, making for a very raucous game. We then basked in the warming sun, with Henry and I soaking up the rays until the early evening.

Chad:

Charlie, Greg and I made the short car journey to to the beautiful Virginia beach in search of dinner. After strolling along the beach as the sun set, creating an orange tint on the horizon, the three of us found ‘Hemingway’s’, a restaurant specialising in seafood. Greg and Charlie, in true British style, ordered (an incredibly tasty) fish and chips whilst I ordered battered shrimp tacos with mango chutney. After our beautiful meal we walked down the boardwalk towards the pier, now lit up in the darkness by white lampposts, and got battered by the strong sea breeze. We then rejoined the group at the hotel for some TV, and then chatted on the rooftop pool terrace until the early hours.

Ryan (ambitiously written in verse):

We decided we were to split up for dinner.

It was Greg, Chad and Charlie that had a winner

Eating fish on the beach, bathed in the sun’s glory,

But for the others it was a grimmer story.

A disappointing Ramen on the waterside;

My personal anger was hard to hide.

A post meal ice cream raised the mood

And we quickly forgot the frankly awful food.

Then it was back to the hotel to get rested

And watch a show in which we are highly invested:

‘Cunk on Britain’ (we would recommend)

And it brought the day to a perfect end.

Alfie (continuing the literary theme with a prosaic acrostic):

Neither I nor Jacob Storey had “brunch”.

Of course, we still went out to eat; we shared lunch at D’egg. One of us had steak, and the other had tater tots.

Rather than catching up with the others, we thought we’d extend our lunch date to a full-day affair.

For anyone who knows me and Jacob IRL, you’ll know that we’re not the most exercise-inclined members of the group, so we took a look at the cinema listings and embarked on a quest to the mall.

Oh, and I forgot to say: we bumped into Sam in the lobby.

Luckily for us, Ready Player One was showing, so we rolled up to the box office and bought tickets.

Knowing the book version well, Jacob was disappointed by the film. I mean, I enjoyed it. I just wanted to see some dudes shooting robots, and boy, some dudes shooting robots did I see.

Veraciously hungry, we met up with the others for dinner at The Waterside.

After dinner, Jacob, Sam, Lewis and I convened in chéz Davies-Storey to watch South Park and eat dangerous quantities of chocolate.

Finally, after Sam and Lewis had gone, Jacob and I tucked ourselves into bed for the last night in Norfolk ahead of the long journey to Scranton.

And a special BONUS: keep an eye out in the next few days for our first vlog coming your way, with footage from our time in Florida!