[Originally posted by Danielle Romano at AllCityPhiladelphia.org, July 20th, 2015]
One month ago today the All City Orchestra embarked upon an adventure in Italy. Back in Philadelphia now, listening to the soundtrack of Cinema Paradiso, I am reflecting on the music we made and all of the experiences we had together. I miss every minute of it.
I still catch myself humming parts of Danse Bacchanale every so often, or yelling “Mambo!” at random times throughout the day. I even caught myself saying “grazie mille” or “mi scusi” to Americans who looked at me like I was crazy. Is all of this normal?
The part I miss the most about Italy is performing. Any tourist could write several pages on the beautiful countryside, of course, or about the delicious gelato, but not everyone happens to play a concert at a church in Perugia, or at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence. We were fortunate enough to play in five amazing venues, and in addition to performing with the orchestra, I loved having the opportunity to perform in a chamber choir and singing La ci darem la mano with my friend Charles, accompanied by the woodwind quintet. Now I get to hold the memories for the rest of my life!
We discovered that almost anything could happen, and something always did. I grew to love the thrill of not knowing what obstacle we’d all face each times we went on stage. Whether it was wind, bugs, squeaking chairs, or changing acoustics, each obstacle gave each concert an individual character. One cavernous sanctuary made the beginning of Finlandia sound like Jaws because of the reverb. Another made Mambo almost impossible to play because the wind was blowing our pages away!
My C string popped in Florence, in the middle of the concert. I was mad at first, but I eventually got over it. After all, I was still surrounded by beautiful music. I wasn’t going to let a little instrument mishap ruin my last concert in Italy. The show must always go on, right? So I still played my heart out!
I hadn’t expected to make new friends on this trip, and even though I didn’t get to know everyone personally, I do know we all have a stronger connection because we shared this experience. Whether it was the little inside jokes we developed over time, or the infamous “got eem” (sorry, you had to be there) we all became closer because of the best thing in the world. Music!
I’d like to think that someday the first All-City Orchestra group to go on tour will have a reunion. We might see each other here and there, but it would be nice to reminisce all together and play our Italy Tour repertoire one last time. Encore!
Danielle Romano, Viola
Editor’s note: 30 days after we took off for Rome, and after 30 entries in this web log, we still have more posts in the pipeline and more reflections on the way. Several musicians are still contributing pieces, and you can too.