( left) and Grand Rapids, MI
(below). At an intimate auditorium in Green Bay, the audience was whistling and cheering with excitement the minute the ensemble appeared on stage. The energy was wonderful and since the audience did not have translations or texts printed in their program, the ensemble worked very hard to communicate what they were singing about. Lots of cheering after Steve Hackman's "Wait" Fantasy, Joe Jennings' "Willow Weep for Me," and our encore, also arranged by Joe: "Keep Your Hand on the Plow." Afterward we were generously treated to true Wisconsin hospitality--a reception at a local brewery, with delicious local beers, snacks, and new friends.
After our sojourn on the Lake Express and a short drive, we found ourselves in the middle of bustling downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, which was literally jam-packed with people. It was quite warm (no longer is!), and thousands of people were walking the streets to take in ArtPrize. It's a large-scale public exhibition and competition, with works displayed by artists from all over the world. The public votes on a winner, who is presented with a very handsome cash prize.
The ensemble sang a matinee concert on Sunday at the acoustically superb Basilica of St. Adalbert, just across the river from our hotel, and it was a treat. The audience was quietly attentive during the singing, but extremely enthusiastic in their response to each piece. It was one of the most resonant acoustics we've experienced. Works by Palestrina, Guerrero, and Hildegard von Bingen were especially effective in the space, though the audience had equally powerful reactions to music by Stacy Garrop (who was in the audience and enjoyed hearing her composition for the first time live), Steve Hackman, Maurice Ravel, and Joni Mitchell (arranged by Vince Peterson). Everyone seemed very pleased, and we hope we can come back soon.
Today is a day off. Folks are enjoying the local food scene (supposedly the best burger in America is located right here, though reviews vary a little bit amongst our singers), seeing a movie, relaxing, enjoying the brisk fall weather, and seeing friends and family who live nearby. Tomorrow we head on to Berrien Springs, Michigan, and then on to the greater Detroit area, where a few of us will have friends and family in attendance. Looking forward to it all.