Having taken a day to recover and attend to home stuff, it seems a final wrap up post feels necessary (kinda like hanging on a dominant chord at the moment).
Our flights home were largely uneventful expect the initial 2-hour delay that cause one singer to miss a connecting flight and forced an overnight stay in Istanbul. The final evening wrapped up with an extraordinary farewell dinner in Thessaloniki that was among the best meals any of us enjoyed during our travels. Into the early morning, we said our goodbye to those extending their travels and not returning directly to DC and slowly (most of us) grabbed a couple hours of sleep. The departure, while generally unceremonious, was nothing like the final musical conclusion earlier that evening.
On Monday evening in Thessaloniki at the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, the AU Chamber Singers gave an absolutely stunning final performance. One that I will not soon forget. The place was filled to capacity! Probably 600+ including many who stood at the back as the seating was completely full. The only thing better than the audience and their appreciative reactions to every work, was the stellar performance given by the group at every moment of the concert. It was clear from the outset that the ensemble wanted to make this a very special last concert and the performing was spot on throughout. I am hard pressed to recall a more satisfying performance end to end in my recent memory. The fine performing was certainly elevated by the fact that every piece was met with a wave of applause and appreciation that exceeded that given the last number. The concert simply flowed and while the members (and me) held it together emotionally for most of the program, as we arrived at the last 3 or 4 numbers, it was clear that each of us was feeling the elation of being part of this inspiring ensemble, the profound nature our travels and discoveries throughout the tour, and the bonds and connections that continued to develop between each other. Also palpable was the impending sadness slowly being realized as we arrived at the coda of our journey. Holding hands for the final numbers, the group sang both intelligently and with their hearts. It is an experience only touring can bring forward in such a full and rich way.
We will post more photos and some videos as things become available. Thank you all for the experiences and rewards of being part of this journey.