Student Blog: Spring Choir Tour Experiences
Day 4 - Miami: Part I
by Brianna Smith '08
Saturday, March 1st
Our fourth day started normally, but quickly became eventful in the worst way. A few of our members had been fighting illness since before the trip started and had only gotten worse. Junior Jared Kenish was taken to the hospital and while he was checked out by doctors, we waited and worried. As a member of our choir family, no one wanted everything to be seriously wrong, but we also didn't want him to continue if he needed to be at home resting so that he could recover. Upon examination it was decided that he needed to return home. Devon Currie was also sent home due to illness, and we mourned the loss of these to members of our family individually and as a whole. I don't know how we could ever be really ourselves without them, but we knew we had to keep pushing through.
For this reason, we made sure they were all taken care of and then proceeded on to Miami. After a long eventful day, we had only just begun.
We arrived in Coral Gables (just outside of Miami) and went straight into rehearsal. As members of the choir struggled with illness in the midst of a tour schedule, someone made a joke that we were the "Catawba Choir of the Damned." We also got to rehearse with two of the music education majors, Dan Ryan and Matt Newton, who would be taking turns directing one of our pieces ("Sing Me to Heaven") during the tour.
Once we had run through the pieces we needed to brush up on for Sunday's concert, we were given a special treat. The man we know now as Mr. Vento, father of renowned soprano Rosa Vento, and owner of one of the premier Cuban restaurants in Miami before his retirement, came out of retirement to cook us his signature dish Arroz Con Pollo and fried plantains. It was stellar. It was beyond stellar.
After dinner, we were matched with our host families and taken to where we were going to spend the night. At my house, Monica, Cecilia, Zack Lynch, and I ate ice cream and talked about bugs andother critters with our host family.
And then we slept the sleep of men and women who were built for hibernation but never given the opportunity.