Day three

After a quick meeting between the altos this morning, we boarded the bus and went to visit the Cambridge area, where Harvard University is. The grounds were beautiful – great quadrangles with thick green grass and good pathways, intersected by public streets. It was much more public than our good ol’ University, but also not as open. Many of the buildings required Harvard ID to enter, but we (Micah, Lachlan and I) managed after much confusion to find the Peabody Museum, which held a great body of American history relics – things left by the Native Americans, like headdresses, paintings, bows and arrows, and things from the Ancient Mayan civilisation, like carvings and great statues.

Adjoining the Peabody Museum was the Harvard Museum of Natural History, where I would have loved to have an extra hour to explore. We walked through a room of minerals that had grown in huge formations. Most were roughly the size I’d expect a T-Rex egg to be (talking in scientific terms, of course), but one as tall as a person was off to the side of the room, smooth spikes bursting out in all directions. There was another example so fibrous that it looked like a fuzzy green carpet. I’m terrible with remembering their names, but I do recall one we saw called Crocoite that was found in Australia (hurr hurr, aren’t scientists great?).

As we proceeded through the museum we found information about the evolution of the earth, and just past that the skeletons started. One on my left! One on my right! At first it was just things I’d seen before – human skeleton and ape skeleton to compare the similarities, kangaroo skeleton and other small-hopping-creature skeletons with more comparison, then all of a sudden, woah, what’s that!? It’s a giant land sloth! And some huge tortoise! And another thing that’s way bigger than it should be! And then . . . truly my favourite, the Kronosaurus skeleton. It was huge. About the height of a person, and the whole length of the room. That’s something like ten metres, I think. Maybe more. And best yet? The skeleton was found in Queensland.

By that time I was getting antsy – half an hour before it was time to meet back at the square and we hadn’t eaten, eek! – so we rushed off via the gift shop, where I noticed a dodo skeleton on display, and found some food.

Our next activity was at Concord Bridge, where we got to hear some American Revolution history from a ranger and look around an old battlefield. There was a nice, rambling path over the bridge and around the field that some people followed around while others looked at the length and how little of it was in the shade (yes, another hot, humid day – must be to make up for how miserable the Australian summer was this year), and decided to visit the old house nearby instead. It must be said before anything else that Concord Bridge was for a few of us the first sighting of a chipmunk. Yes, Australians, they aren’t just a concocted by cartoons and taxidermy, but real little creatures.

When everyone finally gathered back together, we hopped onto the coach and went to the Emerson Umbrella, to rehearse for a performance tonight alongside the Sounds of Concord Choir. There was food before we performed – some sandwiches and three giiiiiant subs sliced for ease(?) of eating. Rob figured out that if you ate the top piece of bread first, you could almost fit the rest of it into your mouth, and that was the most successful form of eating the subs that I witnessed.

The performances following were amazing. The Sounds of Concord is a barbershop choir. In fact, at one point between all of the members there were 42 different barbershop quartets. All joined together they are fantastic performers, and we got to see two of the quartets perform separate to the choir. I did not realise before this how funny barbershop quartets could be, but suddenly everything became about energy and involving the audience and we were rapt.

I’m not sure what to say about our performance. It went well? I know I certainly enjoyed it; we ended with our choreographed songs which felt very plain in comparison to the amazing visual effects of the Sounds of Concord’s choreography, (think Magic Eye puzzles), but our moves added energy into our performance and – dare I say it? – pizzazz. Hurrah! There’s something about overacting a performance that makes it twice as enjoyable.

When the concert ended around 10:30, we were taken out to dinner with the other choir and got a chance to chat with them a bit before we coached our way back to the hotel by 12:30, well and truly ready for bed!


8 Responses to “Day three”

  1. June 25, 2012 at 11:54

    Thanks! We enjoyed hosting you very much and loved your performance! Thank you so much for your compliments. Coming from musicians of your caliber they mean a tremendous amount.

  2. 2 Mark Schuldenfrei (Bass, Sounds of Concord)
    June 25, 2012 at 13:23

    Rosie, it was such a pleasure sharing a stage with your choir! You are such brilliant singers, and while I only had a chance to speak to a few of you, I found everyone charming. I’ve been watching your various videos in anticipation – and I was so impressed. But, of course, nothing beats the real thing.

    Thank you so much for sharing our stage at our Show of Champions. I also went to your Sunday performance at that little theater in Arlington – there were too few of us in the audience, but you were so professional. I was the fellow in the first row of guests, next to my 15 year old daughter (and her garish purple hat). Your performances in that second show were even more marvelous.

    Now, when I say all these nice things, what I mean is this: I’ve long enjoyed choral music, and used to sing in an early music group. My 15 year old daughter is, well, patient with me and the music I play. She enjoyed your first performance so much, that when I happened to mention you were performing again, she was quite insistent that we go! She keeps mentioning how well Koala sang, and I keep hearing snatches of Waltzing Matilda from her as she passes me about the house. I keep hearing snatches of Praetorius in my head, and I’m sure I will listen for the kookaburra in the morning chorus, but in vain.

    I hope your visit to Boston (despite your horrid weather) was pleasant, and I’m sure you will enjoy all your stops. I look forward to hearing about your trip, and your exploits, and I wish you every deserved success at the World Choir Games. Thank you for your kind words about us: you all were inspirational.

    • June 26, 2012 at 13:07

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! I’ve written it out to read to the rest of the choir on the bus tomorrow. We’ve just witnessed some of the other choirs in town at the moment and are feeling pretty wowed by their performances, so we’re keen to get some more practice in. It was an absolute pleasure performing with you guys in Boston.

      The weather in Boston was great – it was the normal Aussie summer that we didn’t get to have this summer, as the weather was so miserable. Here in New York (we arrived this morning), we’ve already had rain twice!

  3. June 25, 2012 at 15:14

    Thanks so much for the blog – its a great way of keeping in touch. Give Lachlan a big birthday kiss from me!

  4. 7 Doug Burum
    June 25, 2012 at 23:11

    Hi Rosie, I just wanted to say that I thought your performance was polished, professional, and absolutely brilliant. While we performed basically in just one style, you performed in a variety of different styles, and executed them all perfectly. After hearing the first part, my wife (sitting in the audience) was so moved that she was literally in tears. Also, your “choir-ography” (I love that expression – too bad “chorus-ography” doesn’t have the same ring) in the second part was excellent, and perfectly suited to the songs. From what was said, it sounds like that is a new twist for your group, but we never would have known otherwise, since there was nothing tentative or uncertain about how you did it.

    (By the way, just FYI you probably talked about the American revolutionary war at the bridge, not the civil war.)

    I hope you continue to enjoy the rest of your trip, and good luck at the World Choir Games. What a great opportunity to see so many things and bring home so many experiences!

    • June 26, 2012 at 13:17

      Thank you! That’s one of the things I’ve loved since joining the choir earlier this year – the range of songs we do. I’m glad you and your wife liked it too!

      Haha, yeah, there’s something about “choralography” that makes it sound somewhat upscale, no matter how simple or silly our moves are.

      Thanks for the correction – still learning my American history, obviously!

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