Well, we have had some fun experiences over the past thirty-six hours. We’ve heard some great choirs, seen some beautiful sights, and spent some time on the beach. This was the most “vacation” type day we’ve had, even though we did a workshop with a choir.
We had an early departure from out hotel (early for college students anyway). We departed at 8:30 for the state of Matanzas, which took about two hours. Along the way we stopped at an overlook point that had a small tourist shop and some musicians.
Many tourist trinkets were purchased:
And there was a little dancing.
Our destination was Ermita de Monserrat in the City of Matanzas. There we had an exchange concert with the Matanzas Chamber Choir. They were dressed in beautiful, all white, linen dresses, shirts and pant. They were a sight to behold. The venue was a small, very old church overlooking the city that had been converted to a tourist attraction, and also hosted regular arts events. It was a beautiful location and the acoustics in the church were very good.
The church was very small, similar in size to the one we sang at with André Thomas while in the Netherlands. This experience was a little more straightforward than some of the others we’ve done. They sang two pieces, we sang two….back and forth. Well, they went first, and wow:
They also sang the James Erb arrangement of Shenandoah, which is pretty tough, and very beautiful. Aside from some small pronunciation issues, they sang it exceptionally well:
The exchange was wonderful, and we had a fabulous time. I was very impressed by the skill level of the choir. Their music was hard, and they really sang well. It was a wonderful experience.
After we went to the Golden Sands Hotel in the city of Varadero. This was a full service resort with a large pool, beautiful beaches, and good food. They gave us five rooms to change in, and we headed out to the beach. My, oh my, are we a pasty group! I admonished the kids to sunscreen up, and everyone did, though a few of the paler of us still got a little burned. Nothing was catastrophic, however. There was volleyball, the beach, full size chess board, and lots of other things to do. There was even a competition in the pool! I will let the students tell you about it (I wasn’t there). But I hear it was…interesting.
After the beach we drive home and had dinner on our own. Finding good food here is tough, and you have to be careful not to eat the wrong thing. A few of us were sick yesterday and today because we unwittingly drank some tap water at the Golden Sands resort. The stomach virus the few of us caught was short and not excessively violent, so no one’s time was really ruined. It was just a handfull of kids, and after a trip or two to the bathroom, it had passed. So, no worries…we are all doing well.
Day Five will be a morning collaboration with Maria Felicia Perez and Coro Exaudi, followed by an afternoon concert. I hope to be able to update you by the end of the day.