Sometimes I feel I am the luckiest woman I know – to be able to have all the men in her family sing in Chor Leoni, and to listen to them rehearse and perform. But then it gets better, because it is most definitely an honour to travel with this amazing group of men, even if they have made the sight of all four Hollett’s at the same table into a drinking game!
Our Tolmezzo adventures on July 10th were a little different than originally planned, as those of us in the smaller hotel were relocated to a hotel with hot water in Carnia, some 18 km away! The members of Tita Copetti kindly picked up our bags from the hotel in Tolmezzo, and transported them into our new hotel, while we went on our excursion for the day.
Those of us who now were not staying in the town of Tolmezzo itself had a chance to head into town for some sightseeing today. Several of us headed up the hill and came across an archaeological dig taking place. The young archaeologist there took time from her lunch break to tell us they were excavating 13th century castle walls that had been buried where a later castle was constructed on the same site. The view of the town was lovely from the vantage point; it was easy to see why the castles had been built there. Afterwards, a sudden rainstorm brought on a search for dry surroundings, and the purchase of water and good cappuccino!
After a quick return to our respective hotels, the choir was off to Codroipo, a drive of approximately one hour along tree lined highways and past several vineyards. Santa Maria Maggiore is a beautiful church which apparently suffered a fire a few years ago and had to be rebuilt. The paintings inside were an interesting mix of old and new – one of the newer ones showing the church’s square and tower, the shopping block behind, and airplanes overhead, trailing the Italian colours in their jet stream. The sanctuary had excellent acoustics – I thought the best so far. The sound really rang, but didn’t become muddied and thick. I enjoyed watching the rehearsal and especially got a kick out of watching Erick dance down the aisle during the Poulenc!
The church opened out onto a small square with several coffee shops – who, although run off their feet, were probably thrilled with the unexpected business. They were very accommodating of the sudden influx of 40 to 50 extra guests!
Once again, the concert was standing room only, air circulation managed by way of paper fans and concert programs. The choir sounded wonderful and we’ve noticed that there are a number of people who are now coming again and again to see the performances, notably members of Tita Copetti, whose president was moved to tears during “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”. We were treated to a lovely dinner afterwards, put on by the town of Codroipo, and we were presented with little souvenir bags to take home. Impromptu singing and dancing followed, after which we boarded our bus and Paolo, our driver, brought us safely “home” once again!
What I have learned during this trip to Europe:
1) Water is precious – we take it so much for granted in Vancouver
2) Carry your own toilet paper, just in case
3) European beer is far far superior to North American beer
4) Carry a light shawl for church visits
5) Chor Leoni can summon storms just by singing the right pieces
6) A smile and “thank you” in someone else’s language goes a long way
Ros Hollett, wife of Ken, mom of Cory and Noel