What I thought of the concert last night in St. Peter’s was just an appetizer for what happened tonite. It was Gee Whiz sort of night. But I digress…yet again, the meds aren’t working’ for me no more. I guess I could say that the day started out with, “should I bring a coat or shouldn’t I?” I opted for the latter and was proved a class-A dope. But more about that in a bit. Today it was more of the visit old ruins day. We hopped on the bus at our regular time and headed for a guided tour of the Coliseum and the Imperial Forum. The Aussies came with us which was nice. Our guide for the morning tour was Fabio. Yes I know, but it is his name and he is proud of it.
I noticed when we got to both places, there were ticket booths. The last time I was there was in 1992 with the family and it was free, no barricades turnstiles no nuthin. So we waited in line for our tickets and went in with Fabio who tried his best to keep everyone’s interest, but it was difficult. He was effective with his pictures of “then” and “now” pics of the places. Two new tidbits I discovered was back in ancient times it took 10 minutes to get 50,000 people out of the Coliseum. I think our school during a fire drill doesn’t evacuate that fast. Th other tidbit was having Fabio point out a map of Jerusalem imbedded in the wall high above the corridors. I thought that was interesting. He didn’t tell us why it was there, just that it was. So I took a picture of it.
In the forum which is in ruins, we went to the Senate house not to be confused with where Julius Ceasar was knifed in the back. This was the real Senate house where Cicero waxed eloquent and caused generations of high school kids to pull out there hair trying to find the subject of his sentences…in Latin. This is when the debate over coats came into play. It began to rain, not lightly at first but in buckets like you opened the door and boom, there it was. It only lasted a short time but it came down in buckets. There was no real place to hide except in the Senate building. The rain was freezing and we were all soaked to the bone. When it let up we continued and finished with the tour. When lunch time rolled around the heavens opened again several times with biblical proportional rain. Soaked again, yes indeedy so.
Most of us took refuge this time under an overhang of a building under construction. It was ok except for the occasional hugh water drip down one’s collar. Once the rain stopped the tour company moved the pick up point for the bus to within a short walking distance. We managed to warm up a bit on the bus before we headed out and our next venue for performance, the Dominican Basilica of St. Mary Sopra Miverva. This church is built on top of the pagan temple to Minevra. Beautiful place with an elephant in the square outside th church. You can check the photos on Facebook when you get a chance. The elephant has an Egyptian obelisk on its back…go figure.
Dinner was ok after rehearsal and one of the Italian kids who came over from Italy and went on Kairos (senior retreat) came over for a visit. If I remember correctly his name is Enrico. He would be the equivalent to a senior in high school next year. and then it was time to suit up for the Gala concert inside the church. Me trying to describe the church wouldn’t be helpful but then there are those pictures. MOst of Catherine of Sienna is buried there along with Fra Angelico, the Dominican artist who died in 1455, in case you ae playing “Name that Saint.” Minerva’s is the only Gothic Cathedral in Rome. So now you know.
But the most important event was the 4 choir presentation this evening in the church. If I thought St. Peter’s was great, then I thought that this performance was beyond great. With nearly a packed church of people from the square, the four choirs took the stage. Incredible. 4 days ago they didn’t know each other, tonite they sang as one. St. Ignatius Prep, San Francisco, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, Monte Vista school, Watsonville, California and our good friends the OZ Amicis from Sydney. The program ran 90 minutes and covered a bunch of composers and styles. No words can describe the beauty of the gift of song. The church was great, the audience was great and our kids, and the people and kids from other places dazzled. I need to reflect on this a bit more. Right now with the pace of the week, I have culture overload and stuff keeps falling out of my brain. I think anyone who had anything to do with putting this performance together would be so proud of the accomplishment.
I know I tend to rip things on this blog. Just read what I say about politics, but this time I don’t have a vocabulary big enough with words to express the fabulous gift given away tonite to the masses. So as we started with the tour of the Coliseum where the emperors would give away free entertainment to keep the citizens happy, we end with giving away a wonderful gift to the citizens of Rome to lift their souls and give them hope.
Tomorrow (Monday) we leave Rome for Barcelona and beyond. I don’t know the internet set-up but Ill find something that works.
And so it goes…I’m sleepy at it’s 1 am already…good nite.