Having entertained the home crowd with the now-traditional send-off concert, the touring Milton musicians—along with many large instruments—met at Logan Airport to begin their Italian journey. The small town of Sorrento was the first stop, with its view of the isle of Capri and Mt. Vesuvius. The first concert, before a crowd of locals and tourists, was at Sorrentino’s Teatro. The Chamber Singers opened with several sacred and secular selections including some of the ever-popular Vivaldi Gloria. The Chamber orchestra followed with some Cimarosa, Mozart and Boccherini. The Boccherini Cello Concerto featured senior Daniel Charness as soloist. During a sightseeing visit to the ancient ruins of Pompeii, the Chamber Singers sang briefly in one of the smaller amphitheatres and were amazed at the wonderful acoustics.
They were then on to Rome where they toured the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, and the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, which holds Michelangelo’s famous statue of Moses. The concert was held in the huge Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, a church designed in part by Michelangelo from the ruins of an ancient Roman temple. The Chamber Singers performed alone that evening and once again the concert was well attended and received.
After exploring the Vatican museums, the group visited the breathtaking Sistine Chapel, where they were even allowed to sit awhile and take it all in, and then St. Peter’s Cathedral. The entourage again boarded the buses and headed north to the heart of Tuscany.
Having visited Pisa, they went to the walled village of San Gimignano where the Chamber Orchestra performed a late afternoon concert in the Church of Sant’Agostino. This concert included music of Mozart, Boccherini, Weber, Cimarosa and Telemann, featuring soloists, Dan Charness, Alex Duncan, Desiree Browne, and HyunJin Kim. The concert was again well received but the musicians played under adverse conditions: The church was ice cold.
From Montacatini, they rode to Venice, taking in St. Mark’s cathedral and plaza, the Dugas Palace, and were treated to some wonderful glass blowing demonstrations. Some of the group also saw the Girls School that was run by the great red haired priest Antonio Vivaldi.
A few hours in Florence is a less than ideal stop, but alas that is all the time they had. The highlight there was Michelangelo’s “David.” Many impromptu performances by the Chamber Singers and some of the Miltones highlighted the day. The day in Florence ended for some at the church of Santa Croce, where Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and Dante are buried.
For the final concert, in the rural village of Im Prugneata, the group was greeted by the mayor and other town officials and the entire town seemed to have turned out. “This was our best musical experience of the tour,” said faculty member Don Dregalla, “one we all will remember.” After the concert they were treated to a traditional Italian dinner in the village complete with strolling musicians.