Thursday, August 6, 2015

Trip of a Lifetime- Day 11

the Ruiz family as we wait to sing
 Our day was to begin at 11am. We would be singing in the Adult Mixed Choir category.  We were told that 1) we could change at the venue and 2) that a guide would arrive in time to escort us to the venue. All we knew was the name of the venue.  Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia. No address was given.

The guide kinda didn't make it. But we made it (Google maps are a life saver). Only to find out that the "changing area" had been given to another choirs as their space. We changed in the bathrooms where the water leaked.

A change in the program...........

As it turned out the changing room really never existed. Other choirs had been told to come in uniform. The space was actually used as a staging area for choirs as the entrance to the stage was from that room.

the changing room that became a staging room
Fourteen choirs were not going to fit in that room. So we and other choirs waited and staged outside. In the heat. Without water.  (Until Nancy went to the shop down the street and bought a case of bottled water. Bless her!)

At least there was shade

Ty and his gangsta hat

trying to stay less heated
We had been given a 10 minute "sound check" but there simply was no place to warm up or rehearse. Some of our male singers finished dressing in the open foyer of the venue. But notice the lack of chairs in the foyer. It was air conditioned in there but no place to sit.
Foyer of the venue
The venue itself was not acoustically built for music. It was small and had what we called "dead air" meaning that sound did not reverberate at all. This makes hearing your fellow singers difficult.

Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia

The ceiling at the venue
It was a beautiful place but not built for choral singing. Certainly not for an international competition. (IMHO)

But sing we did. We thought we had done ok for the first category. We had to stick around for the second category which was to be Sacred Music. So back out to the loggia.

Air conditioning in the loggia! Don't leave home without your fan!
Then we got a bit of news. Gary had gone in to check the program. He doesn't really know why he did but he noticed that the printed program and the program that the official had were different. The next category to be sung was NOT Sacred Music but Folk Music.

There had been a change in the program......

They just didn't tell us.

If Gary hadn't noticed the change we would have been disqualified!

To say that Gary was upset would have been a major understatement. But he got us lined up and began a relaxation exercise with us.

We went in and sang our hearts out. We were all pretty upset as the mindset for each segment of our program is different. But we did well.

Then it was back to the hotel, a shower, redress and come back for the Sacred Music category at 5 pm.

By then we were tired, discouraged (by the changes in program), still a bit pissed off (we were really feeling like the red-headed step-child). We lost some of our focus and we thought we had really blown the Sacred Music. Thinking that we had disappointed Gary was the worst feeling in the world.

But we were on the program for the 7pm concert at Santa Trinita.

Back to the hotel and a shower. Then back in uniform (it's still wet- yuck!) and a cab to Santa Trinita. We have no idea where this place is in the city and have to trust the cab drivers!

Santa Trinita

Santa Trinita Piazza
The church was beautiful, acoustically perfect and HOT! We sat outside at the base of the statute and caught whatever breeze was blowing by.

When it came our turn to sing Gary had us do "O, Magnum Mysterium". We thought we had really blown it in the Sacred Music competition and we wanted to show the other choirs (and the judges who were present) that we knew our stuff.

Then Gary surprised us. He directed the first part of the piece and then clasped his hands together. That was our signal to hold hands and close our eyes. Gary climbed the stairs we were on while we sang and stopped behind us. He put his hand on my shoulder and sang with us. We were angels that night. We were one voice. It was magical.

 For me, I never, ever want to forget that feeling. Utter joy. Just as Morton Lauridsen (the composer) had envisioned.

Melodie, John and I walked back to the hotel. We got lost and found the Ponte Vecchio.

A perfect end to the day.

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