We woke up on Friday morning a bit groggy and jet lagged, but happy to finally be in Spain! The weather was nice and warm (much warmer than Utah) and the air humid, which provided perfect conditions for a short walk to the beach before breakfast. Sunrise strolls along the boardwalk and hikes into the nearby hills became a daily routine for many of the Singers, especially since our bodies were waking us up at 5 am! The sunrise over the ocean and across the green landscape was breathtaking every time. Nothing comforts the mind of a travel-weary student with no WIFI more than a nice ocean breeze and warm air.

View of the beach:


The European style breakfast was a welcome throwback to our Baltics tour this past summer; unlimited baguettes at every meal should be part of a tour’s learning fund from now on!

Friday afternoon we walked through the streets of downtown Zarautz (our home base for the duration of the trip) to a local auditorium for our rehearsal and preparation for concert number one that evening. These on-tour rehearsals are always especially fun because everyone is enthusiastic and focused and Dr. Crane is at his very best.

Because our concert venues were usually far away from Zarautz, there wasn’t much leisure time between rehearsals and concerts! Within a couple of hours after our rehearsal and a trademark Hotel Zarautz lunch, we were in concert attire headed for the theater in Getxo for our opening concert.

What a thrill to finally sing for the people of Spain! We’ve worked so hard this year to put together our repertoire (and perfect our Basque) and it was gratifying to finally deliver something to a live audience who actually speaks the language we were singing. A highlight of the night were the student solo performances sprinkled throughout the concert. Several of the students spoke Spanish and thrilled the audience by addressing them in their native tongue and in some cases performing a Spanish art song! Grace Parry, Logan Reid, Sarah Knight, and Matthew Paez brought the house down.

While the audience appreciated our music, and we certainly appreciated them, many found it difficult to work the jet lag out of our voices and settle into the difficult repertoire we performed for the first time from memory (with less than two months rehearsing as a choir!). A couple of hiccups during the concert and the looming vocal fatigue raised some concern about whether we’d be ready for the competition just the next evening.

Before getting to bed for some much-needed pre-competition sleep, we had probably the best dinner of the whole trip in a small local restaurant just down the road from our concert venue. It was a delicious five-course meal with a bunch of food I didn’t even know the name of.

We went to sleep that night feeling a mixture of nerves and anticipation for the competition just ahead, with a prayer in our hearts for the miracle of vocal health and a relaxed mind.