Day 7 - May 24, 2012
Today we really experienced the festival atmosphere here at Iguazu. Our day began with a super breakfast. There was fresh fruit...pineapple and papaya..then sliced ham and cheese. Also a variety of cheesecake type desserts as well as cereal, yogurt and juice (which consisted of a choice between fresh watermelon or pinapple kiwi). It was great not having so much heavy stuff on the menu.
We began rehearsal with all singers around 9 am. This was mostly a choreography rehearsal since the singers know their music really well. The rehearsal concluded and we loaded the buses to transport to the orchestra location to practice with the instrumentalists. Talk about a huge sound. Imagine putting 500 instrumentalists and 200+ singers in the same room! This rehearsal lasted about an hour and a half. Then we transported back to our hotel for lunch.
This afternoon also marked our first of two solo performances. We weren't even sure we were going to have a concert for a while. You see it had been raining hard for the past day or so. Our first concert was an outdoor event so everyone was keeping their fingers crossed. As it turned out, the sun began to shine and the concert was on. I should have been a little suspicious when our tour guide informed me that we would have to take two smaller busses rather than one large bus. When we departed we were traveling on nice paved roads. This was to change. The smooth paved roads turned into paved roads with potholes. Then came the cobblestone streets. Then came the dirt roads. Then came the dirt roads with major potholes. About the same time, we saw that the houses were getting smaller...probably no more than 700 square feet. Essentially, we were in the sticks. Then suddenly we pulled up beside a modern school. It was bordered by a tasteful security wall of brick topped by a painted iron fence. We were to share the concert with a local school orchestra. They were involved in their sound check when we arrived and this check went long. We were left with just a few minutes to get our bearings straight for the concert. Outdoor concerts are never my favorite because they are hard to do and adding miss to amplify the choir is often problematic. At any rate, the orchestra played well and it was our turn to take the stage. True to form at every concert so far in Argentina, the audience was extremely supportive. It seemed the more we sang the more the crowd responded. They especially enjoyed the Spanish pieces. One concert goer came up to me after the concert to tell me that our Spanish was "perfecto!" Following our final scheduled piece on the program the crowd started clapping in unison and yelling "orto, orto, orto!," which means "another, another, another." We then sang the Spiritual "Soon Ah Will Be Done." At its conclusion there was a standing ovation. It just doesn't get much better than this for performers and our guys were eating it up.
Of course the girls were all about our boys after the concert and they quickly got out cameras to pose with our boys. So many people made the effort to visit with us and thank us for making the trip to their school and sharing music with them.
On the road again, we returned to the hotel for an early dinner so that we could attend an evening concert and listen to four youth groups that had been invited to the festival. Dinner consisted of a plate of antipasta, followed by a serving of Sheperd's pie. Dessert was special because we had a birthday cake for Evan Boyd who turned 13 today. He was a happy camper.
We left the hotel for what I thought would be a two hour concert that lasted more than three hours. But the boys had a blast. The program started with a variety or rock tunes played over the loudspeaker system while fireworks blasted into the night sky. This was followed by performances by a Russian jazz quartet comprised of 11-14 year old boys, a string orchestra from Brazil, a brass band from Ecuador, and a steel drum band from Trinadad and Tobago. It was an impressive display of young talent. The outdoor theatre was packed. If we were in the states I am sure the fire Marshall would have had something to say about the crowds. And again, the girls were swarming around our guys! Not sure if any of the official pick up lines discussed in an earlier update were used, but let's just say it appeared that most of the boys seemed very happy. Some photos were taken so you may see some of these pop up on Facebook. Overall the boys had a blast and they met many new friends.
Tomorrow we have our second solo concert and we will share the concert time with a piano soloist from Australia and the instrumental group from China. It should be a great concert.
Due to the rain, one of the rehearsal halls is under repair. Our morning rehearsal there has been cancelled so we may have time to travel to the national forest for a bit of sightseeing.
In closing, please know that the boys are doing well. A local laundry owner stepped up today and is going to help wash some clothes for us. This is good because some boys were down to their last change of clothes. All is well.
Texas Boys Choir