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Day 8: Exploring the Palacio de los Reales Alcazares

Day 8: Exploring the Palacio de los Reales Alcazares

We only have one more full day left in Spain and this trip has been an eye-opening experience for us all. Experiencing the food, people, and overall culture is something none of us will soon forget. Following breakfast, we embarked on another excursion by foot to see what else we may discover in Seville.

Throughout the choir’s years of international travel, we have somehow always managed to tour on the days coinciding with local holidays and this time was no exception. Today, the people of Spain were celebrating the Festival of San Fernando, a holiday commemorating the death of King Ferdinand III.  All of the local businesses were closed and the streets were virtually deserted. As we made our way through Seville, we noticed a remarkable mushroom-like structure called the Parasol Metrosol in the center of town. It was quite impressive.

Another of the sites we set out to see was the Palacio de los Reales Alcazares – the Alcazar of Seville. The Alcazar of Seville is a royal palace originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings. The palace still serves as the Seville residence for the royal family of Spain, making it the oldest palace in Europe still in use today.  We enjoyed exploring the grounds of such a historic and beautiful site.

To many musicians the city of Seville is widely known due to two of the most famous operas ever, Rossini’s Barber in Seville, and Bizet’s Carmen. Seville is a big city for opera lovers. We visited the actual home of the barber of Seville, a yellow three-story house.  Also, given that Seville is Spain’s second most popular city for bull fighting, it was easy to see why the story of Carmen takes place there. One of the houses we saw was designated as the place where the two leads, Carmen and José spent most of their time in the opera.

More than 40,000 listeners got to experience MSU’s choir during a local radio station interview and performance. While it was newsworthy that an American choir was in Seville, unfortunately, many of the listeners would not get a chance to see our scheduled concert due to it being sold-out. Rather than our segment being aired in a soundproof studio, we recorded in the interior courtyard of the radio station building with the host beside us. Afterward, we returned to our hotel for a group lunch.

Prior to what would be our last concert in Spain, we had about four hours to ourselves to do whatever wanted to with the time. The next day we would be saying goodbye to Spain. Many chose to stay in the hotel and rest, while others went out on their own to explore the city. There is virtually no crime in the city, so everyone felt safe.

The sold-out performance at the Espacio Turina featured a concert hall considered by some to have the best acoustics in all of Spain.  The hall’s capacity accommodated 486 people, but it was okay because our concerts in the smaller communities typically received more attention. The audience in Seville, perhaps knowing that this was our last concert in Spain, showed an unbridled enthusiasm for every song performance.

In an effort to connect better with the Spanish audience, rather than have an interpreter beside me during the concert, I attempted to announce the entire concert in Spanish.  Having taken Spanish for several years as a teenager I relied on my youthful teachings, along with the help of our guide, and attempted to speak as much Spanish as possible. I was able to pull off what seemed impossible reading at times from my iPhone while live on stage.

At the end of the concert, the beckoning audience enthusiastically requested one encore performance and we gratefully obliged.  The performance was positively met with claps, cheers, and the feet stomping of approval. It was so much stomping we thought the balconies were going to collapse! We finally were able to exit the stage, while our drummer distracted the audience with a solo performance.

Leaving Spain will be bittersweet. We had a great time during our stay, but it was now time for us to move on to Portugal for our last days of the tour.

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