Another Saint Suplice performance

Just to prove that I did record more than one song.

Saint Sulpice Performance from Pellissippi State ETS on Vimeo.

One of the Latin pieces performed by Variations Ensemble in Saint Sulpice, in Paris.

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French Television Coverage

After the 9:30 minute mark, you will see some footage of Variations at the American Cemetery in Normandy.

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Don’t they look nice?

Walking through the streets of Paris in their formal wear. I know folks in the hotel lobby were wondering what we were up to! :)

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Newspaper coverage in Normandy

Here is a clip from some of the press coverage of the Variations Ensemble singing in Normandy.  The headline reads: “The American singers enchanted the audience”

Click image to enlarge.

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Sing, Be, Live, See

Today was the last concert of this tour as the Variations Ensemble performed at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Our tour guide on yesterday’s bus tour, upon learning that the choir was selected to sing at Notre Dame, said “You must be very excellent as they don’t pick everyone to perform there.”

And, you will be happy know that they were excellent! We navigated, in their formal wear, through the Metro subway and then down the street to the Notre Dame square. After some group photos, we were led through a back door and down to the basement to a room where the choir was able to warm up and then share thought with each other about this week and their time together. It was a very moving and emotional time.

Then, the choir went upstairs and performed to LOTS of people who were touring the cathedral at the time. After their concert, several people came up to Bill, the choir and even the chaperones and asked where we were from and other questions. The comments were so kind and warm and the students were very excited by the experience. They went back to the basement room and had a big group hug!

After that, various tours went various ways as individual interests dictated. Some folks went to Versailles and others explored the Catacombs of Paris while the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower awaited other groups. I am sure there will be stories to hear later.

The title of this post is from the first lines of the Earth Song, which I have used several times in videos on this blog. I felt like it summed up how the students have been this week. They have sung, they have lived, they have seen and they have been…kind, loving, warm, open, wonderful ambassadors for Pellissippi State, music, the state of Tennessee and the United States.

Parents: you should be proud of your children. They have performed beautiful music in a beautiful way in some very beautiful settings. They have been wonderful to all whose paths we have crossed.

Faculty and staff of Pellissippi State: you should be proud of these students. They have represented us well, showing the people of France a lot of talent, humor and kindness. Go Panthers!

It is an early start tomorrow and this blog is probably about at its end. I hope you have enjoyed following our adventures.

I think we might just have to take a little bit of Paris home with us.

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Foods

We are in France and some of us are channeling our inner Julia Child. The foods I have heard mentioned so far that have been tried by students and chaperones include:

  • foie gras paté
  • mussels
  • escargot
  • guinea hen
  • veal
  • frites (fries)
  • crépes
  • duck confit
  • hake (fish)
  • caviar
  • creme bruleé (some of us have tried at least three variations, ahem)
  • glacé (ice cream)

But, I must say that I heard a lot of excitement when we had bacon and eggs for breakfast yesterday morning!

Today, we head to the Notre Dame Cathedral for our last concert on this tour. The excitement is building.

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Marymount International School and Saint Sulpice

This morning, Variations performed two short concerts for the students at Marymount International School, which is a Catholic school that has an American curriculum taught in French. The students represent over 40 nationalities at the school and only 47% identify themselves as Catholic.

The headmaster greeted us. He is from Chapel Hill, NC. We also met a teacher from Jasper, Georgia. The concerts were a big hit with the kids and many of them sang along with Skip to my Lou. One young girl even gave Mr. Brewer a conducting assist from her seat.

Variations Ensemble at Marymount International School

Variations Ensemble at Marymount International School

After a quick lunch, we headed to Saint Sulpice, which is the second largest church in Paris. If you have read The Da Vinci Code, you will remember this church as an important location in the book. In fact, there were signs at the church disclaiming and correcting some of the information in Jones’ book about the meridian line that runs through the church floor.

The acoustics were amazing in this building and the choir sounded wonderful. Some of the students asked me afterwards if it sounded as good to us as it did to them with all of the reverb and echo. Of course it did!

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Faces

I have been trying to capture each person during the week in a sort of portrait. Here is what I have so far.

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First night in Paris

Last night, we went in Seine! Well, we went on a boat in the Seine for a night cruise. The cold wind didn’t keep the infectious enthusiasm of the students from spreading to all of us!

We boarded by the Eiffel Tower (after navigating a very crowded Metro with the choir in tow!) and headed down the river by sites such as the Louvre, the French assembly building (like our Capitol Building in Washington D.C.), lovely bridges, Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, and other sites.

Back to the Eiffel Tower for disembarking. Some of the group ended the night with crepes from a street vendor which, according to them, were fantastic. Notice, they ate them so fast that there was none to share with the blogger! :) And, it was too dark, sadly, to get a photograph of their blissful epicurean faces.

Today, we have two concerts: one at the Marymount International School for elementary students and the second at Saint Sulpice, the second largest church in Paris.

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Variations at Normandy American Cemetary

I forgot to mention that the French National TV crew was also there recording the event. You will see their cameras in the video.

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