Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Butler School of Music Tour-Greece and Italy

As I write this post, I'm sitting onboard the Blue Star I, our overnight passenger ferry enroute from Patras, Greece to Ancona, Italy. We left port about 90 minutes ago, so we've had a chance to have a snack and a beverage, and settle in to our (small!) cabins. [Note: our wifi connection here is quite slow, so I'm going to resist the urge to try to post any photos at this time.]

Last Saturday, members of the Butler Chorale, University Choir, Butler Symphony Orchestra and Butler Symphonic Wind Ensemble departed campus for our week-long adventure. We are a large group, so we were split into three different transatlantic flights. Despite that fact, we all arrived at our hotel, the Hotel Amalia in Napflion (two hours southwest of Athens) within an hour of each other.

Monday was our first full day, and sightseeing included the amphitheater in Epidarus (where we sang an impromptu concert to test the amazing acoustics of this phenomenal setting), and the Acropolis at Mycenae. It was a beautiful sunny day, with snow capped mountains visible off in the distance. Temperatures were in the low 60's with a gentle breeze...just perfect!

Monday evening, the Wind Ensemble and the Chamber Orchestra shared a concert. The performance took place in the town of Napflion, in what served as the first House of Parliament for Greece in the early 19th century. It was a small space, with very live acoustics. The concert was great...a terrific start to our week of performances.

Tuesday was our day in Athens, where we got to see the two year old Acropolis Museum, just at the base of the Parthenon. It's a beautiful museum, and the top floor is designed to the same dimensions of the actual Acropolis, with a recreated frieze to show an "installed" version of beautiful sculpture one would have seen on the actual building.

Tuesday evening the Chamber Choir and Butler Chamber Orchestra performed, again in the Parliament Hall. The Choir's performance was received enthusiastically, and featured works by Rutter, Handel, Durufle, Kurt Weill and Butler graduate composition student Shane Monds.

Following the performance, a number of us opted to stay in town for a late pizza dinner on the square. Henry Leck, Father Charles Allen and I, joined by our students Greg Sanders, Nora Burke, Pete Weldy, Becky Shields, Tim Jans, Max Wellman, Jacki Thering talked and laughed heartily until the wee hours!

On Thursday, we'll take our busses to Bologna where we'll rehearse for Friday's concert. More updates to come.

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