Wrapping It Up
Submitted by: Jules Campbell
All good things must come to an end and after 9 days of sightseeing, concerts, and camaraderie, the WomenSing 2019 tour to Greece has come to a close. As I sit here back in my Lafayette home, suffering from jet lag, my mantra is “Nothing matters but the blog.” I promised Ofer he would have the final blog installment tonight and one simply does not let Ofer down.
We learned a great deal on the tour, mostly about Greece, the land, the history, and the culture; and perhaps most importantly, we learned about each other. So, in no particular order here are some things we learned as we toured through Greece and shared our music with new audiences.
- In the Greek language, the ancient and modern name of the country is Hellada or Hellas, and the Greeks call themselves Hellenes, not to be confused with the colloquial term popular in Berkeley and Oakland, “Hella”.
- The small cans next to the toilet are not simply another garbage receptacle. The plumbing in Greece is ancient and is not set up to handle modern day toilet tissue. This is important to know, particularly when a women’s chorus is singing at a small venue in Lavrion with just one toilet.
- American gospel music speaks to all. Some of the singers were perhaps concerned that gospel music wouldn’t translate or be well accepted, particularly in an orthodox church. Worries were promptly dispelled when we began to sing and watched the audience light up. Which leads to the next thing we learned:
- Always trust Ofer when it comes to programming a concert.
- Singing in beautiful venues to appreciative audiences makes you forget the sweat dripping from your head all the way down your body, to your toes – well almost…
- WomenSing members like to play cards. There are quite a few card sharks in the group, particularly Ofer. However not every locale is open to all card games as we discovered when one group was evicted from a rooftop terrace, with a particularly great view of the Parthenon, for “gambling”.
- Music brings joy all people, regardless of their situation. Our visit to the Eleonas Refugee Camp was one of the highlights of the tour. The opportunity to visit with and perform for the people who call this camp home touched our hearts. Singing our Birthday Song to 9 year old Zahra was especially magical. We were able to leave a bit of our music behind in the form of a donation of an electric piano we used in our performance there.
- If you see trash floating in the water, it’s from some other country that borders the Mediterranean. Greece prides itself on being a very clean country.
- Always make sure that there is a handle on the inside of the bathroom door if you use the facilities just before you’re supposed to enter to start the concert. We will not name the WomenSing member who learned this lesson, but from that person’s experience, we all learned.
- On the way home we learned that one of our travel companions is well liked by the French – he was treated to a strip search in the Paris airport. (Perhaps because of this photo…)
- And finally… Breakfast tastes better with a wonderful view of the Acropolis.
- Drinks taste better sitting on a Peloponnese island, such as Hydra