What a fantastic (and a little bit scary) experience it was to sing the Sunday main Mass in the huge Santa Maria Novella Basilica in Florence yesterday! As the Visitation Choir ended its first warmup song, we were amazed by the EIGHT SECONDS that the sound reverberated around the Basilica (as compared with the 3 seconds that we are used to at Visitation - which is wonderful in its own right). These acoustics produced a full and blended sound in the church, but made it very hard for the singers to hear anything but themselves and the organ behind them. After a few adjustments, however, the result received great reviews. Victoria and Richard's voices soared through the space and Nick did his usual magic with a somewhat temperamental organ. After an extended practice last night to finetune our technique for singing in large spaces, we are on to sing in the even larger Duomo in Siena this morning.
The entire tour group enjoyed the rest of the day in Florence dodging some rain showers and long museum lines (it was a "free day" at the museums). Some explored the churches and museums, some enhanced the Italian economy by shopping for leather, gold, clothes and other items in which the Florentine shops specialize, and others relaxed in cafes and trattoria and watched the Sunday parade.
Today, on to Siena for singing and a tour, to Montalcino for wine tasting, and then to Rome, the last stop on our Tour.