Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Oregon Arts Orchestra - day 5 Montecatini

Today we left Rome.  We ate breakfast in the Hotel Leonardo Di Vinci.  Our usual eggs and ham and cheese and pastries and thick hot chocolate or coffee options.  And fruit and yogurt.  Lots of good choices.  Then there was a rush on the elevators.  Only two of the three were working and with 45 people spread through 8 floors, plus an assortment of other tourists and airport personnel all seeming to need to leave at once, the elevator was tough to come by.  We were a little late getting everyone down and loaded on the bus.

We spent about three hours driving north from Rome to Sienna.  We stopped for what Flavio, our enthusiastic tour facilitator, called a 'pling-pling stop' about half way through.  I had forgotten about those European seatless toilets. Kip and I stocked up on chocolate and checked things out for the kids in the gift section of the station.  We found a wonderful new stuffed animal puppy for Becca.  He was immediately adored by the whole bus and we christened him Flavio in honor of our dear Italian tour guide.  He was not incredibly pleased for some reason.

Sienna is a lovely little Tuscan town. The streets are narrow and the buildings tall. There are wonderful nooks and alleyways to admire and little shops encouraging you to spend money.  We stopped at a restaurant in the Piazza del Campo for lunch and ordered the special, bruschetta, pasta and a drink.  It was my gluten splurge.  I've had a few more of those lately than I should.  Several of us chose to skip the organized tour of the day. Instead of heading to the Duomo of Seinna, we stayed at the restaurant taking.  The allotted 90 minutes passed extremely quickly.  Flavio (the human) joined us at the end, having skipped the tour also and luckily told us when it was time to head out to meet the rest of the group.

Our next destination was Montecatini.  It is another smaller Tuscan town. We're staying in a hotel in what they call the newer part of the city, though certainly not new by American standards.  

Our concert tonight was in a gorgeous location - the Tettuccio Baths.  We spent the afternoon rehearsing there.  We were at the back of the courtyard of the baths, with seats set up to fill the courtyard in front of us.  There were fountains all around and the public bathrooms were a bit of a walk, but there were enough for a hundred people at once.  There was also a set of mineral-water-dispensing ornate stone sinks in the main courtyard to the side of where we played.  The sound was not as reverberating as at the Basilica last night, but it was still nice.  And better suited for the Hansen than the church had been.

After rehearsal we had an hour to eat and change and be ready to perform.  The hotel restaurant provided dinner.  And Italian dinner at a proper restaurant is not a quick affair.  There was pasta or soup for starter.  Then meat or caprese, potatoes and ice cream.  I ate my pork as fast as I could then charged up to the room to change.  I made it back with 2 minutes to eat my ice cream.

Cindy changed the concert order slightly from last night.  We started with the Rossini as usual.  Then, Phyllis and I ran off stage, sent Kip and Guy up with the stands, and put on our sparkly shirts while Cindy announced our solo.  We only played movements 2 and 3 of the cimerosa.  I had a few finger mess-ups, but felt like we ended strong.  We were followed by Yvonne on the Vivaldi (winter). Then we were treated to a piece by the dixieland group.  And finally we did the Hanson, Mvts 2-3,  and the American Salute.  It was a lot of fun and we did a lot better than we had the previous night.  People really seemed to enjoy it.  Walking home after the concert we passed many audience members at cafes or on benches.  They congratulated us and we thanked them.  It was  lot of fun.

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