Today is Sunday and I awoke wondering how I would get to Mass if at all. The bottom line is - I celebrated Mass in Italian for the first time. Here's what happened. I made the walk from my hotel to the performance center which requires that I go past the small church in this village. At 8:30 as I was going by, the doors were already open for the 9:00am Mass. I was scheduled for a music rehearsal and coaching session at 9:00am. For me to change that would have required the directors to change the schedules of 25 other people as well. So I entered the church and was directed by a little old lady in the back pew to the "sagrestia". There was the pastor in his chinos and t-shirt and sandals. (Part of me is really glad to be outside of Rome.) He spoke only Italian. So we did the best to communicate. He invited me to concelebrate the 9:00am Mass with him. I explained that was not possible. He asked if I wanted to return later to celebrate Mass myself. I asked him about noon time. He stepped out of the sacristy and called an elderly gentleman, Vincenzo, to come in. He asked Vincenzo to return later to open the church, and set up the altar for me. I returned at noon and found everything ready, including the Italian sacramentary and lectionary. So I began the Mass in Italian. Knowing the words in two other languages was how I got through it. Signor Vincenzo stayed with me, did the readings, and served Mass. Just the two of us in church. Asked him aftewards, "Mio Italiano? Bene?" He just shrugged his shoulders, gestured with his hands and just said "Eh". So that was my first experience with Mass in Italian.
Now the music program.
I played chamber music with any kind of proficiency today for the first time. I have done a great deal of accompanying in the past, but that is about supporting a soloist. Chamber music means that you are part of an ensemble and you are not neccesarily subordinate to the other instruments. It requires a great deal of listening, non-verbal communicating, and understanding what everyone else is doing.
I am meeting some very interesting people. There are participants from USA, Netherlands, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Israel. I also learned the the director, Mr. Aldo DeVero and his American wife have just purchased a home in Falmouth, Mass. He will be back in the USA to play some recitals in August. Aldo did the coaching today in my groups for the Mozart Trio, the Haydn Trio, and the Mozart 4 hands Sonata. Also mentioned to the Haydn Trio group that this was my first time playing chamber music. They said they would never have guessed that because they were very comfortable playing with me. But I know I still have a lot to learn.
I also have met a professor, David Yang, from the University of Pennsylvania who is coaching the strings. There is a string quartet made up of some his students who are here with us. The student violist is performing with me in the Mozart Trio. David Yang also directs a chamber music festival in Rockport, Mass every summer. I'm sure I will be back to hear him perform. He also told me he wants to expand the Rockport concerts by touring other areas in eastern Mass. There is a chance that St. John Neumann could be hosting a chamber music concert at some point in the future.
These chamber music festivals happen all over the world. I think I have discovered a new reason for traveling. As I am getting to know more of the participants, I am getting invitations to travel to play music. There are three paticipants from Israel. I had dinner with them this evening. We talked about my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They want to come to visit and we will play chamber music and to see other places in Israel.
I've hesitated to get too many pictures of the groups playing. They are working hard and I don't want to disrupt their rehearsals by entering the room to photograph them. But I will see what I can come up with. I'd also like to video some my own sessions.
I complained about the internet to the owner of this facility today. He asked me how everything was going. "All is going well, but your internet system is very inconvenient", I said. We chatted a bit about the issue and all seems well tonight.
I have three coaching sessions tomorrow, and its midnight.
Buona notte a tutti.