UPDATE on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4:00pm:
The Chamber Singers and their chaperones have arrived safely at JFK after their amazing tour of Italy. Welcome back to one and all!
UPDATE on Wednesday, Feb. 20 from Ms. D'Andrea at 6:00pm:
So today we had a later start - 10:00! We boarded the bus heading to Tavarnelle to perform for a school. The kids had a great time and gained some fans! Afterward we went to a supermercato and shopped for our lunch.... Some had bread and cheese, fruit and others had a yummy lasagna. We sat in front of the market to eat our bounty. Then we had a beautiful drive through Tuscany where many olive trees and grapevines covered the countryside. We arrived in Pisa after about an hour and walked around the square and took silly pictures trying to hold the tower. [Check out the photos I added at right.] After a wet walk back to the bus, we headed back to Florence for one of our top 2 dinners! A short walk later and we were back at our hotel. Some free time and now we are all tucked into bed. On to Siena tomorrow! Buona Notte.
UPDATE on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from Ms. D'Andrea at 6:00pm:
Left the hotel this morning at 9am and headed to the Accademia Museum where the kids got to see the original David and other famous artwork. Then went on to see the Duomo (in Florence) where some climbed to the top (427 steps). Continued on a walking tour of the area visiting the Ponte Vecchio, a church and palazzo as well as several piazzas. Spent a couple hours shopping in the leather market where many of the kids bought leather jackets, purses and boots. We then headed to an olive oil and wine tasting store and spent a lot of euro!!! After the kids went to the hotel to change while most of the chaperones continued to shop (4 of them went to the hotel, so they were not alone!). They then had a rehearsal and a beautiful concert at San Stephano Church. After we had an amazing dinner and then a brisk walk to the bus and returned to the hotel. We were back early enough to give the kids some down time to relax with their friends. There is another choir in our hotel from Georgia and a high school group from NYC! It was a long day, but I think everyone enjoyed it!
UPDATE on Tuesday, Feb. 19 E-mail from my son (edited for punctuation) He tells me that the Chamber Singers "sing in the restaurant always after the meal, usually "Ave Maria" or "Good News."
Sorry, sorry I've been off the radar. I just got to a new hotel. It's great. I'm safe [and] I didn't cause an international incident so that's good. I climbed the bell tower of the duomo (450 steps) in Florence. We rode boats everywhere in Venice. We sang a Mass in St. Marks, yet frankincense (you know what I mean) [incense] is strong and Italian priests talk confusing and non englishy. I'm sick and just bombed tonight's concert but I got through YES! Anyways, I know this is a really cryptic message, but here's some photos.
UPDATE on Sunday, Feb. 17
I have added two photos taken by Lisa McNeil D'Andrea in Venice to the ever- growing photo album at right. Many thanks to tour members for sharing them.
Ms. D'Andrea posted this late Sunday:
So today was our last full day in Venice. We started early with a vaporetto ride to Piazza d'San Marco for an incredible demonstration of glass blowing. The master made a beautiful vase in 5 minutes (I will try to post a picture tomorrow). We then went into the shop and spent a lot of money! After that we met our guide Manuela for a tour of the basilica where most went upstairs to walk around the roof. After that we had some free time to shop and eat (and some of us went on a gondola ride) before getting ready for the Mass. The kids did a beautiful job singing and the priest was highly complimentary. Even the church goers were impressed as they applauded when leaving, which doesn't usually happen after a Mass! We took a short walk to the ristorante for a fairly good dinner of pasta and scaloppina followed by gelato. After our final ride on the vaporetto we walked to our hotel to pack and have our final rest at this hotel. We start our journey to Florence at 8:15 am tomorrow. I will try to post more pictures tomorrow.
UPDATE on Saturday, Feb. 16
Chamber Singer Zach Carter shared some beautiful photos of the canals in Venice on Facebook and gave me permission to borrow some of them. Enjoy!
Today the students headed to a performance of La Boheme at La Fenice. Board of Education member Scott Slauson reported that his wife and son are having a great time. "At 9am our time yet 3pm in Italy, they are off to an opera. They will be performing tomorrow at St. Mark's Basilica." Not a word from my son, but spotted him in one of the photos.
UPDATE on Friday afternoon Feb. 15
Ms. D'Andrea writes:
Well it's been alooooong day. I've been up for 36.5 hours and finally going to bed. We had a wonderful time. While we got to JFK very early it was worth it. The flight was nice and came in a half hour early. We were met by the wonderful Silvia Silvestre and the boarded the bus to Verona. We had a nice stroll and saw Juliette's house and her famed balcony. Then we were pleased to find a Valentines Day festival with lots of local goodies. We then got back on the bus and headed to Venice where we took a boat to the island and had vigorous hike to our hotel. After a delicious dinner, we are now settled in for the night. Buona Notte!
UPDATE on Friday Morning Feb. 15
After a long flight, they have arrived safely in Milan, Italy. Please see the photo of the tired but happy group.
Twenty-three members of the Naugatuck High School Chamber Singers met in the lobby of the high school early this morning to begin their long journey to Milan, Italy. Because their pre-tour concert had been cancelled due to the blizzard, the students held a last minute rehearsal at the Naugatuck Congregational Church yesterday afternoon to prepare their repetoire for their ten-day Concert Tour.
Wearing green t-shirts and sweatshirts, as in the shade of green on the Italian flag, they had their suitcases weighed and checked by the chaperones. The school nurse double-checked medications and everyone made sure that all the young men had taken a cumberbun and bow tie to complete their tuxedos. Each and every suitcase and carry on was labeled with the student's name and the first hotel where they would be staying. By the time the bus arrived, everyone was checked in and ready to leave on schedule.
Music teachers Mahlon Peterson, the director of the by-audition group, and Robert Hughes will supervise the trip. Lisa McNeil D'Andrea has worked hard doing all the planning for this once in a lifetime trip and was thrilled to see the day of depature finally arrive. Many adult chaperones are joining the teens on what will be an amazing tour of Venice and Florence. NHS Principal Jan Saam was at school wishing that she had been able to go along on the trip and declared their departure the most exciting thing that had happened at the school all week.
The high school students and their chaperones will be taking a tour designed especially for them by Casterbridge. After leaving JFK, they arrive in Milan and will tour Verona. They then will head to Venice, where will spend three days. They will attend an opera performance of La Boheme at La Fenice and will give a concert at the public Mass at St. Mark's Basilica. The group them travels to Florence; enroute they visit Ravenna. In Florence they will give a concert in a deconsecrated church and the next day at a school in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa with students 11-14 years old. They then head to Pisa to view the architecture and then to Siena for a joint performance with the Polifonici Senesi Choir. From Florence they travel to Milan, where they will visit La Scala Museum before heading back to JFK.
Check out the photos I took of this morning's exciting departure. I will be posting photos taken by Ms. D'Andrea (with her permission) as the trip progresses. Check back for updates.