Early on a Sunday afternoon, we drove into Lavelanet and assembled at the halles, home to part of the Friday market, the annual hazelnut feast and--today--a performance by five local choirs, ours among them.
First we rehearsed, then we adjourned to the outdoors and the café, then fuelled by whatever beverage had tickled our fancies, we sang. Finally, all the choirs squashed into position on the stage and performed together. There was no official announcement but word quickly got around that the host choir from Lavelanet had prepared drinks and snacks for us in a building behind the cinema at the other end of the car park.
"Snacks" is an understatement. Sucré and salé--sweet and savoury--dishes filled two long tables, with drinks poured at a third one. Tartes, pâtés, it was an incredible spread with my personal vote for the most memorable, a savoury cake studded with lardons, olives and hazelnuts.
With so much talent in one room, we soon had it rocking with more music, singing and dancing.