Chiesa di San Stae, Venice Performance

On January 1st, 1986 we experienced one of the most surprising (perhaps, even shocking) performance events of my life. We had arrived in Venice and were concluding our "warm-up" in the church prior to our concert. Yes, we all knew that it was New Year's Day and the church was quite cold, (in some subsequent tour performances we were instructed to keep our heavy coats on for warmth), and many of our members were ill (including me.) As we were nearing the end of our pre-concert run-through, there was virtually no one in the church.

San Stae
San Stae, Venice

We left the concert site and met in a small room next to the performance area for our last minute instructions. Because I was ill and due to the fact that it appeared that we would have a small-to-no audience for our concert, I instructed the Chorale that even if only a few folks eventually came to hear us, we still must perform. However, I said that I would shorten the program so that we could get back to our hotel, get warm, and rest as the next day was to be a service/concert at St. Mark's Cathedral - one of the most anticipated venues of our tour.

All members of the Chorale understood that tonight's program might be a short one, but they were disappointed by the anticipated crowd size. When the time for the concert arrived, we made certain that our gowns and tuxes were well-appointed and that all members appeared happy to be in that place at that time. The Chorale entered the hall and were amazed that not only was every seat filled with enthusiastic concertgoers but that since it was a standing-room-only crowd, eager listeners were standing 3 and 4 deep all around the hall.

Needless to say, we did our full program plus several encores for one of the best audiences of the entire tour. We learned that those in charge of opening the doors of the facility did not let anyone in the building until just minutes before the concert. We also learned not to try to anticipate crowd sizes in the future.

San Stae poster

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