So if Monday and Tuesday were days of gradual immersion into the Mozart/Bolivian routine, Wednesday and Thursday have brought a kind of hair-is-now-all-wet/I'm-fully-commited-to-this-thing experience. Writing this in my hotel room late on Thursday, the last two days have brought a total of 10 different masterclasses/rehearsals, for a total of over 15 hours of musical/linguistic engagement in two days... We're all getting our money's worth now :-)
I'm glad to be so active...and the singers and students here (some are adults, some attend the Catholic or Evangelical Universities here in Santa Cruz, some are high school age) are certainly eager to work. Today, despite a driving rain, 5 guys from the chorus trudged across town and were waiting for me at the conference room in our hotel we are using for afternoon classes.
I'm teaching a combination of conducting and singing masterclasses...not really with a lesson plan per se, rather asking the students what they want to work on, or what questions they have. Teaching is so often about reinforcing the good lessons students already know--I'm certainly relying upon that philosophy a lot this week--and the good news is folks keep showing up for more.
Singing the "Benedictus" in our voice masterclass
We were joined yesterday by another guest musician for the concerts next week. Jorge (from Honduras, but now living and teaching in Jacksonville, FL) arrived on the overnight flight from Miami. He (viola player) and Felix (violin) will be featured in the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante. I got to hear them rehearse a bit tonight...their playing is certainly wonderful.
Felix and Jorge with Roland and Orchestra
Roland has been making sure I'm eating very well. Yesterday's lunch was a buffet with potato soup, cooked veggies, and chicken. Last night it was a delicious Cuban restaurant for Ropa Vieja and the best sauteed plantains I've ever had...sugary glaze on the outside. And today, with one of his board members, we were treated to a wonderful sushi lunch.
Rehearsals are going well; we are making progress, and despite the fact that the 50 or so singers come from different places (some are already in other choirs, some are in no choirs), we are building our unique choral instrument. Tonight we sang through the entire mass, taking time to remind them about the importance of looking up, working on pronunciation of text (the "B" sound is hard for them to make) and working on transitions from one movement to the next.
Rock n' Roll, Mozart style! Our accompanist, Jacinth, is a student from Princeton University doing a summer study abroad program here...and he's a great help to us!