Saturday, March 30, 2013


That's Florence to the rest of you.  Here's a VERY abbreviated rundown of what happened, followed by lots of pictures.  Firenze is less than an hour's drive from our hotel.  Since our buses can't navigate the narrow streets in the city, we were dropped off several blocks away and had to walk to the center of town.  After the students deposited their choir uniforms at the church where we'd be performing later in the day, we all took a nearly two hour guided tour of the area.  Following the guided tour, groups separated for lunch, which for some was as simple as grabbing a slice of pizza and for others was a sit-down steak dinner.

After lunch, many of us climbed some four hundred narrow, winding steps up to the top of the bell tower (the 'Campanile') of The Duomo, the magnificent cathedral of Florence.  It was an exhausting climb (especially for some of us older travelers) but it offered spectacular views of the city.  There was also the opportunity for museum tours, more sightseeing, and shopping.  Since this was probably going to be our best opportunity for shopping, a lot of us chose that option.

The final event of the evening was our first concert, performed in a decommissioned church just a block off one of the main shopping streets.  Our tour guide told us that we shouldn't expect more than thirty or so visitors, but he dramatically underestimated the drawing power of the Okemos High School Choirs.   With the doors to the church open, shoppers, sightseers and other vacationers could easily hear our music, and before we were done performing, more than 150 people had come to see where that amazing sound was coming from!  So now not only do we have amazing memories to take home with us, but dozens of complete strangers who were on their OWN vacations will tell stories about this great choir from America they heard performing in Florence.

Now pictures.

Off the buses, ready for our day in Firenze
 Walking into town, braving a light rain, carrying our choir clothes so they wouldn't get dirty.  Wet, yes, but not dirty.
Inside the church where we'd perform later

 Fearless Leader
 We did mention the rain, right?

 The woman in the center is one of three experts (one for each bus group) who gave us a Tuscany history lesson as well as a guided tour of the area.  The man behind her is one of the three tour guides who travel with us on the bus for our entire stay.

 By the time we're done, we'll probably have between us several million pictures.
Mr. Potchen will be responsible for about a million of them all by himself.
It's a bell tower.  That's the bell.

Mr. Potchen, Mr. and Mrs. Hood at the top of the Bell Tower
(Mrs. Schafer is taking their picture) 

We finished the day with a concert that drew vacationers into the church to see where that great music was coming from!
Tomorrow - Pisa and Lucca!


  1. Wow what wonderful pictures! Our kids are very fortunate to go to such a beautiful place like Italy!!

  2. Love, love, love this blog! So impressed with these beautiful young people and I'm loving how the general public is responding the the beauty they're sharing with the entire world. Thanks for posting!