Posted on June 21, 2015 by Thomas Collins
Well the tour has finally begun and with everything that’s going on it’s important to take stock of it all and really appreciate the wonder of it all. This is the time for what my friend and drama/theatre professor, Susan Vick, would call a “cosmic breath.” This concept is that when things are going a million miles an hour and you are overwhelmed, you always have time to take a breath and let the world in to provide perspective.
You need to stop and really look at what is going on around you.
After 16 hours of travel (nine hours to Istanbul, with a two-hour layover, then a three-hour flight to Tel Aviv, followed by a two-hour bus ride to Ein Gedi) we made it to our hotel at just before midnight (local time) on Saturday, June 20. Friday was not much more than a memory. Our hotel and our local guides had a buffet of snacks and refreshments awaiting us which made for a nice ending to our journey. We quickly got our room keys and were shortly off to our rooms to get some sleep.
On our first full day on the tour, we took an excursion off to the Dead Sea. After making it through the visitor center, we walked down a long winding road that led to the actual Sea. If you ever visit the Dead Sea, I highly recommend wearing your sandals or water shoes into the water as the salt deposits make for very sharp surfaces to walk on. Once in the water, it was incredible. If you pulled your feet up for a moment, you were quickly floating. Swimming was almost impossible as your feet would be just about in the air, so kicking was useless. Best thing was just to float and relax. The water can only be described as “soft.” While the salt drying on your skin was a bit irritating after a while, a quick shower back at the hotel took care of that.
We had our first rehearsal at our concert venue that afternoon, and we finally were able to put everything together. With any choral tour I’ve been on, the first concert is the most important, as it gives you the opportunity to really connect with the singers on the tour and get a good feeling for what the story you are telling is going to be. Until you perform that first concert, everything has been a draft of what is to come. The story changes with the experiences as you move along the tour. Some of it is internal, with new connections and experiences shared with your fellow chorus members, and some of it is external, with the sites and people you meet changing and coloring your views.
At 8pm we headed up for our concert and I’d say it went off quite well. The audience was a good one and many stayed after to let us know how much they enjoyed our performance.
Our first chapter told, we then headed back to the hotel to celebrate the true beginning to our tour and to ready for our next day of activities. We’ll see what else is in store for us!