At the end of August 2008, around 20 SCS members and friends abandoned an unseasonably dank and dismal Oxford for a week of sunshine and song in Montecchio, Italy. Montecchio is a charming small hilltop town close to Orvieto in Umbria. As last year, we were warmly greeted by all and enjoyed wall to wall sunshine on this occasion, unlike the summer of 2007, when we were treated to a small Italian tornado!
Twice-daily rehearsals still left plenty of time to explore the surrounding area, sample the abundant local delicacies, and bask in the sun by the pool!
The week ended with two very well-received concerts with an a capella repertoire featuring Palestrina’s Missa Aeterna Christi Munera, as well as traditional English and Italian part-songs and madrigals.
On Friday 29 August, we performed in the beautiful twelfth century church of Santa Maria Assunta in Lugnano in Teverina, an ancient elevated walled village close to Montecchio. Having ensured we were well fed in advance of the concert, the mayor arrived in rather dishevelled state to greet us, arriving direct from a forest fire which was smouldering close to the village. Fortunately, the fire was contained and we sang to an enthusiastic audience, with warm words and presentations closing the evening. One charming feature of both our concerts was the way in which young – some even in pushchairs – and old alike turned in to the church to listen, dipping in and out as the need arose.
On Saturday 30 August, we held an early evening concert in the fine fifteenth century church of Santa Maria in the historic quarter of Montecchio. The priest and the mayor were enthusiastic in their welcome and we were quite bowled over each to receive a long-stemmed rose at the end of the concert. Drinks in the village square followed and we then went on to celebrate our last night with a party involving, of course, yet more singing!