A big day in Novafeltria

Yesterday may be remembered forever in the history of Novafeltria. The big news around town was that Peanut Butter Ice Cream is now among us. The savvy proprieter of the gelateria is now offering nocciola americana, replete with little American flags in it.

Two evenings ago I went to Bellaria to do a scene and an aria before the one-act. The Italian director of our host school drove us out to the venue. At the sacred music concert I had heard him speak about Gregorian chant, and also heard the Italian language version of “Vatican II destroyed church music” (a sentiment with which I do not really agree, but about which I can speak with confidence. So I summoned all my courage and my knowledge of anachronistic liturgical Italian to raise the subject with him in the car. He repeated his assertion that canto Gregoriano is the foundation of all lyrical singing, and then proposed that Victimae Paschali Laudes provides the tonal underpinning of rock & roll. The latter raised a few eyebrows, but I am going to look into it.

So I mentioned that I teach some chant to my choir and that I teach about it in my class. He was thrilled, until he found out that we lots of it in English. Then he almost drove of the road. I cursed myself for not having translated “full, active and conscious particpation” before I started the conversation. I think I explained my rationale, and told him that we do sing Latin on concerts occasionally.

We arrived at the venue an hour before curtain. Bellaria is your quintissential beach town, with an unself-conscious tackiness and streets full of families having fun. We were singing in a jazz club, with little houses painted on the walls and stairs leading up to the balcony. When we finally determined what order all the pieces would be in, the director asked me “Is there any reason you can’t sing Chi il bel sogno while you walk down from the balcony?”

I could come up with a number of reasons, as a matter of fact, and they would sound like an early verse of 12 days of Christmas: FOUR timesIfellonthesidewalkthiswinter, THREE scabsonmyknees, TWO fancysandals, and a history of falling on the stairs!

But I did it. Up the stairs, down the stairs in the fruit roll-up dress. After we sang arias there was no way for us to get backstage during the one act, so we stayed in gowns as we sipped cocktails and ate gelato on the streets of Bellaria.

This morning I took the Italian test. During the oral component, I was asked to tell them something about my childhood, and the only think I could think of was that we used to go to car shows all the time. What’s wrong with me?

We hiked up to Talamello this afternoon in the blazing heat. It was worth it. Talamello is a cute little town on a hill with a church from the 13th century. What I liked most about the church was that despite being an ancient structure it was clearly a modern parish, with a junky little electric organ in the front of the church and cheap looking plastic kneelers.

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