Monday, June 23, 2014

First Performance- First Encore!

We began our day with a walking tour of the incredible city of Ravenna. Our first stop: Basilica di Sant' Apollinaire Nuovo (coincidentally our concert venue later that evening). Constructed in the 6th (!) century, I think it's safe to say it's one of the older venues we've had the chance to perform in. Its stunning mosaics could have captivated the group for hours.

We moved next to the Church of St. Francis, poet Dante's final resting place (he's had several, poor guy). This church, built in the 10th century, has sunk over three and a half meters and has been reconstructed several times to compensate. You can see that the water still rises into the church by the marked stones.

Finally, we reached the Basilica di San Vitale, an unusual octagonal structure, where we sang "How Can I Keep from Singing" much to the surprise of the present tourists. The liveliness of the space prompted chaperone Georgette to dub it "How Can I Keep from Ringing."

It's always particularly impressive when a jean short clad, ponytailed group of rowdy teenagers can suddenly convene into a choir. Tour guide Claudia said it best, "where did that sound come from?!"

I must add that this was not staged, the ceiling mosaics are that entrancing!
We parted ways with our wonderfully informative tour guides for lunch then were able to secure some free time for the girls to explore or nap (the jet lag is quickly catching up to us).

Our concert began at 9:00 pm- definitely later than any of us are used to, but it gave us ample time to eat a light dinner, change for our concert, and rehearse in the venue. With the promise of tiramisu to follow our performance, the girls were especially focused and determined to do well.

This concert was a part of the Ravenna Festival, a special honor. We were told after viewing the video from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Festival organizers were so impressed it garnered an immediate invitation to join. 

The Basilica di Sant' Apollinaire Nuovo set an extraordinary setting in which to sing. The Festival organizers quickly filled the space with chairs, lighting and a piano which were nowhere to be seen when we passed through earlier in the day.

As the girls recessed out of the church following the concert, the unceasing applause from the audience prompted Mr. Metallo to exclaim "turn around!" for an encore.

And yes, the tiramisu was worth it.

Everyone is looking forward to a good night's sleep (hopefully one that does not involve waking up and playing cards from 2:00-5:00 am). We are headed to Bologna tomorrow!

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