This morning we checked out of our hotel in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and piled onto our tour buses to head for Venice, Italy. The bus ride made for a good opportunity to catch up on some sleep, which was much needed because the previous night I was out with a small group of choir members at a karaoke bar. (Since we didn’t have a concert in
Slovenia, we needed to find some sort of venue in which to display our voices.)
Of course, there is no automobile traffic in Venice and the buses needed to drop us off at a pier so we could all take water taxis to the Piazza San Marco where our hotel was located. At the best of times, getting our 60-odd tour participants to check into a hotel can be a bit of a skit, and Venice’s lack of road access certainly didn’t make for the simplest check-in of the tour. But it did make for the most picturesque.
I was with one of the first groups to hop into a water taxi that took about eight of us, plus our luggage, to San Marco. After arriving at our destination, we waited for about 40 minutes before spurning the rest of the group and deciding to hunt
down the hotel on our own. The Piazza San Marco was wall-to-wall with people, and dragging my 60-pound bag through required some skillful navigation, but we shortly found our Best Western just off the square.
That afternoon, most of us went out to explore the city. I had never been to Venice before (unless the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas counts), and I thought it was magnificent. I had never seen anything like it. The long line of buildings bordering the ocean and the narrow canals through the city are truly unique. I wish we had days to walk around the city, but with limited time, we decided we should just go take a look at the church we would be performing in the next day, July 7. I
was walking there with a small group that included the gentle,mild-mannered Paul Larocque.
All of a sudden, he exclaimed, “OH MY YOU GUYS LOOK!” with such urgency I thought something was wrong. When I
turned around to see what the problem was, he was staring at a Chor Leoni poster advertising our concert for the next day! It was really cool to be walking around in a place so far from home, so unfamiliar, and then to see a picture of the choir. The reminder that we’d actually be performing in this city really got me excited for the concert. As we continued to the church, we found more and more Chor Leoni posters, none larger than the poster covering half of the church
door. Inside, the church was beautiful — and will certainly be a contender for the best space I have sung in — so I can’t wait for tomorrow.