Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dr. Eric Conway on Days 4 & 5 "After an insanely successful concert...in Cordoba, Hernan, our tour guide arranged for the choir to go dancing at a local disco"

Dr. Eric Conway:

After an insanely successful concert at the Compañia de Jésus Church in Cordoba, Hernan, our tour guide arranged for the choir to go dancing at a local disco two blocks from the hotel.  With no other performances in Córdoba on the following day, a night out to experience Argentinian nightlife seemed reasonable.  Although I personally cannot hang with the younger crowd at late night events, our tour guide stayed with the group throughout the evening, getting his “groove” on with the Morgan choir members.  This description seems appropriate on day 4 given in Argentina this disco did not open up until 1AM! The group made it back to the hotel safely, still accompanied by Hernan early next morning.

On Saturday morning, with no concerts planed during the day, the group was able to sleep in. At 10 AM the group left for a walking and driving tour of Córdoba.  The guide gave great information about the 3rd largest city in Argentina visiting the famous San Martin Square and sites around the city.  We returned to our hotel for a evening dinner, featuring once again the most  famous appetizer in Argentina, the empinados, this time stuffed with meat.  We knew that we must get to bed early, due to our next long bus ride to San Luis.  Although we are seeing much of Argentina with concerts in the major metropolises in the country, each city is at least 5-7 hours distance by bus to the next destination, which has meant consistent early morning departures.

On Sunday morning, we had to depart by 7:30 AM to drive to the province and city of San Luis.  Although not one of the largest cities in Argentina, San Luis was perhaps the most proud.  Because of gold, San Luis, is perhaps the most affluent provence in all of Argentina.  To give a sense of the affluence of this city and provence, the national highway that spans from Buenos Aires to Santiago de Chile is a two-lane road across the continent with the exception of the 200 kilometers in the San Luis province that boasts a true highway with at least two lanes in each direction.  In the town of San Luis, Wi-fi was provided for the entire capital city of the province. 

An exchange was scheduled with choir members of the National University of San Luis at 1:30 at their university.  Due to inaccurate timetables, we did not arrive until after 3PM.  The huge catered meal was planned for the group featuring many different types of Argentinian meats.  During the exchange the San Luis ensemble performed typical Argentinian songs for the choir.  The hosts were very excited to say that our concert was already sold-out as early as Wednesday! Immediately after the group lunch, we were given a walking tour of the city. At the end of the tour, the minister of tourism met with the choir to welcome and tell us how much he was looking forward to our group singing our concert.  He gave every member of the group an official gift bag form San Luis, including a huge book in Spanish and English about his city.

We checked in to the hotel called Dos Venados Hotel, translated at Two Deer Hotel - the region is known for its deer wildlife. The hotel looked like a very old ski resort.  With a very short turnaround time, we had to eat dinner, which came to soon after lunch, and leave shortly for our concert.  It appeared that the concerts were getting later and later, as the concert start-time was 9:30 PM.  The Argentinian culture is used to very late events and start times.   The concert was in the city’s principal community auditorium - Auditorio Mauricio López.  The auditorium capacity was 440, although I am sure that there at least 500 in the room.    At lunch, the local university faculty warned me that they do not begin their events on time.  The concert did not begin until 9:50 PM. An ensemble from the university opened up the concert with three multi-media presentations.  We began our set at 10:19, to finish our set concert by 11:30 PM. The principal of the University of San Luis presented two gifts on stage to the group on behalf of the university.  He expressed that one day, he hoped that we would perform a joint concert with his choir.  We experienced another amazing concert! The San Luis people appreciate our American music in a big way.  Once again, I am sure that the choir appeared in local Facebook webpages, given all the selfies taken with Morgan choir members.

Once again, we had to quickly return to the hotel to leave by 7:30 AM for another city, Mendoza, five hours away.  Given the fact that Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world, the long driving distances are expected.  Off to bed, to enjoy possibly five hours of sleep!


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