Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dr. Eric Conway: Last two days of MSU choir's Argentinian tour included choir members riding horseback with Argentinian gauchos

Dr. Eric Conway:

Day 11 was our last day in Argentina.  The only event on the agenda for this day was a guided Fiesta Gaucho Tour with lunch.  This was an opportunity for the group to experience and interact with the Argentinian Gauchos (cowboys).   We travelled 45 miles to the Santa Susana Ranch in Los Cardales, Argentina.  As we entered the ranch, we each were given several varieties of Empanadas (you may have seen these hot pastries in several of the earlier jpegs) - the true Argentinian appetizer/snack.  We entered the main house and smelled several different varieties of meats roasting on the coals.  

Everyone in the group was excited, because we had heard that the entire group would be given the opportunity to go horse-back riding.  For some this may not seem like a big deal, but for most of the choir members, they had never been on the back of a horse before - oh what fun!  The guide kidding around with the group saying the the horses were slow and low to the ground.  The horses only had two speeds, slow and slower!  Imagine a kid who lived in the city all of their lives riding a horse for the first time.  After getting over all over sight and smell of the droppings, everyone, truly had a great time!  Imagine that it took a choir tour to get some choir members on a horse for the first time in their lives! 

After an afternoon of riding, we all ate in the big house.  We were concerned because the persons helping us get on the horses earlier were now our waiters!  I guess one had to multi-task on this ranch.  We enjoyed a great barbecue lunch of several meets.  After a huge lunch, we enjoyed a cowboy show of beautiful singing and dancing.   After the show, the host asked the choir to the stage to sing a closing selection for the international audience in the dining room.   After lunch, we went back to the stables and field to see a cowboy show, now with our waiters transformed back to cowboys!  One entertaining portion of the show was the gauchos trying to spear a small ring while galloping quickly to the ring.  When grasped, the cowboy would then give the ring to a audience member for the price of a “kiss”.  

The day at the ranch was a very relaxing way to spend our last day in Argentina, taking in rural Argentinian Gaucho life.  

We returned to hotel to gather our things.  We departed the hotel around 7:15PM.  Our flight back to the JFK was scheduled to depart at 11:00 PM.  

Final Day - 12

We arrived at 9AM on Sunday, May 31, 2015 after an eleven hour flight - the return flight always seems faster.  We were quickly processed through US customs.  Again, all luggage was present and accosted for. We only had a four and half hour drive back to campus.

All in all, this may have been the best attended concert tour that the choir has ever had.  All concerts were either filled to the capacity of the hall or had at least nine hundred persons in attendance.   Of course, the choir likes traveling internationally, but the real joy is seeing the faces of citizens of other countries who have perhaps never heard the voices of an African American choir before.  

As stated in earlier correspondence, there were only a few persons of the African Diaspora in Argentina.  I believe this is one reason why we were may have been such a “novelty”?   Argentina being a Catholic state, with very few other religions, were perhaps hearing some of our American genre of music that we sang for the first time. 
The audiences of Argentina will never forget the Morgan State University Choir.  We travelled as far as a group could travel in Argentina for the limited amount of time that we had.  As tourists, we enjoyed a broad perspective of the country.  

I believe that the Morgan State University Choir represented the choir, city and country well in our concerts.  We pray that we can continue to carry the Morgan banner even higher - growing the future and leading the world!


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