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Every concert should start with a spa day

posted Apr 5, 2013, 4:11 PM by Jen Hayes
We enjoyed our last dinner at the villa’s restaurant Monday night and even made friends with the large family a table over celebrating Easter Monday. The kids opened their enormous chocolate Easter eggs filled with little toys and came running over to share some of their chocolate. They may not be old enough to appreciate just how well their sweet treat went with our after dinner espressos, but many a grazie and buona pasqua were exchanged!

We had our last rehearsal this morning and ended with a run through of the entire program. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve gotten the music together, the time seems to have flown! We packed all our gear up for the van to deliver directly to Pistoia; meanwhile, we were off for a relaxing day in Montecatini Terme in preparation for our first concert. Our lunch here was a light brunch, quite welcome after so many big, multi-course meals. We especially enjoyed the salami station with a hand crank that was too fun to spin - all the more salami for us to enjoy!

Some of our group signed up separately for massages and facials, and we split up here to have treatments or head straight to the mineral baths, where we spent a relaxing hour floating our troubles away. The time was up much too quickly as we pulled ourselves away - though not without a stop at the historic terme or baths. Currently undergoing restorations, the owner was kind enough to let us in to have a look at the gorgeous architecture and frescoes as we imagined all the people that have passed through over the centuries.

San Bartolomeo
Eventually we made our way back to the vans to get on the road to Pistoia, where we would be holding our first concert. We arrived at the church to set up and run a couple pieces, but still had some time to explore the city. We stopped into a couple shops as Chuck and Lisa looked for stand lights and Jen continued her quest for boots, and we admired the church and the ceramic glaze tiles adorning the Ospedale del Ceppo. Dinner was at a happening spot called Gargantua, with some great 90’s tunes on the stereo and an interesting mix of art on the walls. Their specialty was different collections of antipasti and other dishes served on a large cheese boards. Most everyone ordered one of these, and hearing that some tour members had never tried Campari, William also ordered a Campari soda to pass around. The almost-unilateral decision was that it must be an 
acquired taste!

The time passed much too quickly, and we hurried back to the church for our concert. After only a couple days of rehearsal we played wonderful music to an enthusiastic audience in the beautiful Chiesa dei San Bartolomeo, built in the 11th century over a foundation dating back to around 750 AD. How amazing to start our tour in a space so full of history, as we performed surrounded by beautiful art and ancient, cracked friezes fading into the centuries. After we finished, the priest led us to a hallway filled with snacks and drinks to celebrate our first concert. Mille grazie!