Hi all! To everyone still reading the blog, thank you for your patience! I got back to the US and the jet lag got to me. The last two days of the trip were just for us, and we were able to get a little more leisure time underway before leaving this beautiful country!
For safety reasons, we were not allowed to take any photos in the cave. But we were allowed to sing, and Nic became the 15th student conductor of the trip when he conducted "Fall" with the full choir.
Beach day, and the trip home
I alluded to this in my last post, but I want to reiterate the sheer level of grace that the students in our choir have had as they've responded to yesterday's news. It's been generally accepted by everyone that our placement in this competition boils down to the preferences of the panel of judges at the Seghizzi competition, and that their call does not in any way insinuate that there is anything 'wrong' about the quality of our sound. If anything, there are many students in our choir who feel empowered by the results in a way, proud of who they are and what they've achieved on this trip.
Before the competition, we had six unforgettable concerts in churches across Italy that touched the hearts of countless people. And even before that, this choir had an incredible nine months of growth and dedication- from their first group warmup at the start-of-year retreat, to the final ringing chord of Considering Matthew Shepard in First United Methodist Church. Every moment of community that has been fostered in this choir is more valuable than gold, or any prize that Gorizia could possibly provide us. Sure, there will be no plaque from the 2023 Seghizzi International Choral Competition adorning the walls of Cramer 453- but in its place will hang the decorative plastic street sign that Ethan bought from a little souvenir shop in Forni di Sopra. It may not be shiny, it may not be engraved with our name in a fancy font, but it carries memories far more important. Memories of a choir who stayed true to themselves, who shared their voices with the world, and who learned to love themselves just a little more along the way.
A thanks is in order for all the friends, fans, and competing choirs who have DM'ed the Chamber Choir social media accounts with their love and unwavering support. A bigger thanks to Ethan for being such a guiding light during such an unexpected chapter in this trip!
Spoiler alert: chamber choir did not make it to the final round :(
That's right, thought I'd get that out of the way early for our readers! Though we didn't get the opportunity to perform in the final round of competition, our students sang at an absolutely incredible level of musicianship. I cried lots and lots of happy tears during their sets.
When the rounds were over, we were bussed to a big dinner with the other choirs near a vineyard. Wine was had, songs were exchanged, and we generally had a great time! At the end of the night, the organizers announced the top five, and our name was not called. And while it certainly stung, our students took it gracefully. Funny enough, I feel like the Polish choir was more offended that we didn't place than we were.
We were the last choir to be bussed back to the hotel, and that unto itself did us some good. Everyone was able to take some extra time to talk out their feelings and remind each other that they did an incredible job. Our hard work was certainly not all for naught; While we will not be going home with a trophy, stellar music was made and countless memories alongside it. We will be cheering on the other choirs in the final round of competition (Especially the Polish and Filipino choirs), and will still have the highlights concert tomorrow to look forward to. Send your favorite Chamber Choir singers a little extra love today, and stay tuned for more good things to come as we wrap up this amazing trip.
(*Cue dramatic music*) After a full year of preparation, and ten days of concerts and travel, the competition begins for real. Spirits and nerves are high as everyone gets acquainted with the environment of the Seghizzi International Choral Competition. Now in its 60th year, this prestigious competition is host to many talented choirs from around the world- with this year's lineup including (but not limited to) ensembles from China, Poland, Slovenia, the Philippines, and the Ukraine.
We got in late on Wednesday! Many of us took the morning to sleep in, and enjoy the continental breakfast offered in the Best Western. We met at 5 in the hotel's conference room to take a collective breath and each share our intentions for the remaining days of tour. If you can believe it, the concert we sang yesterday was the choir's final full concert as a group! Our repertoire for the competition will be broken up into different categories on different days, so hearts were full as the group reflected on what they've accomplished together this year.
Chamber choir took the stage for one last full concert, with some very special volunteers. Throughout the tour, (like on all of our tours) Ethan has been inviting the graduate students and graduating music education students to conduct one piece of their choosing with the group. And since he needs to take the reins for the Seghizzi competition, this was the final chance to let the students conduct the choir. Katie, Kimi, Alyssa, and Chance conducted pieces last night, bringing the final number up to fourteen. Fourteen student conductors!! Thats nearly half the choir!