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Off and running into our 40th Anniversary

A fairly momentous start to our new season.  Tonight at the San Francisco Conservatory, before a particularly affectionate crowd, we finished the Bay Area run of our new program "Heart of a Soldier."  We've done this program twice in France, now 5 times in the Bay Area and have been having very good audience response both to the music, and to the subject matter; people telling us that they have been very moved by it.  Mason Bates "Drumtap" and John Musto's 'the silence speaks' are the newly commissioned works, both making very intense and touching statements.  This program now goes on the road, and we hope, if you're coming, you will like it.   Momentous also is our announcement that this season, our 40th, will be Eric Alatorre's last after 27 years of singular contribution to Chanticleer.  Some young man out there will step into Eric's very big shoes as of next summer - in the meantime we will cherish and honor our last months with Eric.   This Bay Area season took place in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Sacramento, and Pleasanton, and are the exemplar of Fred's frequent observation that we're always singing for friends.  Tim Keeler, Zach Burgess, and Matt Mazzola - singers beginning their Chanticleer careers this season- are already old hands.  Off we go to North Carolina and 5 dates in Georgia.

 

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Festival Abulensis concludes with joint concert

It was a really lovely evening, back in the monastery, listening to the four groups with whom we had been working, and singing in two tutti pieces:  O Vos Omnes and Super flumina Babylonia by Tomas Luis de Victoria.  Who we don't have to remind you at this point, was born in Avila.   Festivities are underway at the former home of T.L. De V., now a bar.  Just sorry we have to leave Spain so soon.  On the other hand, we'll be home on Friday night.

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Fantastic evening in the Monastery of San Tomas

The Monastery was built starting in 1482 - an intriguing date for us New World People.  You can see where St. Teresa took confession.   We sang a revised version our sacred program ( Upon This Rock- Sobre esta Piedra) to include the Tomas Luis de Victoria mass Missa O quam gloriosum.  What a wonderful audience! Completely sold out. Included of course were the participants in the festival with whom he had worked and eaten a lovely 3 course lunch during the day - the most friendly and enthusiastic of listeners.  The landscape here looks exactly like Northern California.  It has to make you think how at home the Spanish must have felt when they arrived.  Everybody has been so nice - glad we have another day to have some more classes, and put together tutti pieces for the participants concert back at the Monastery tonight.

 

 

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A very enjoyable morning

Working in twos with the groups here at the Abulensis International Music Festival.  They range from small ( 4 women) to larger mixed groups and have in common a love of singing and desire to work and to learn.  We had a great time.  Our concert tonight is apparently more than sold out, with people from all over Spain, and also from Argentina, Spain, Greece and other countries.  No pressure!

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Here we are in Espagna!

It's been quite a while since we were in Spain - last time was in Pamplona.  We have arrived, rather torturously, in Avila (birthplace of Tomas Luis de Victoria) for 3 days at the Festival Ablulensis where 38 singers will work and sing early music with us.  A bit like our Sonoma program, except that these participants have come in already formed ensembles. Fred has been here working with them for two days - we can't wait to meet them tomorrow.   The festival is in its 6th year and guests have been The Sixteen and New York Polyphony among others.   We'll be working in a hotel/conference center outside of Avila ( whose ancient walls we can see from our windows) and performing in the St. Thomas Monastery Church there.

To digress a bit about the glamor of it all:  some famous European airlines ( this was our second such experience, the other a few years ago)  seem to have been able to reduce their cabin space to a point where there is no unbending of any leg, the seatback in front is 6" from your eyes ( really, we measured,) so reading not really an option, there is no room for a seatback pocket, and one wonders how people actually manage it (some of us almost couldn't) and why they put up with it so calmly.    Amazing.   We started out driving in a bus 3 hours to the Hamburg airport from Havelburg, then up, down bumpy over the Pyrenees,  then another hour and a half on the bus to get to Avila.    No complaints, but you can imagine how thrilled we were to unfold ourselves out into the night air of Spain.

 

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