Our final day in Uberlandia, 20 October, Marcia, yet again, prepared for us another beautiful breakfast of Brazilian fruits and cheese bread.
Soon thereafter, she took us to the downtown convention center, which is on the top floor of a major mall. This is where the final concert took place. We rehearsed for the concert, which included serious works (Barber's Adagio for Strings) as well as transcriptions of traditional Brazilian songs for string orchestra, and even fantastic transcriptions of the Super Mario Bros. theme song and several songs (Batman!) in which the absolute beginners could participate, and the rest of us moved along in a simple choreographed way.
Each year, the Festival distributes T-shirts for that year's festival. Last year was pink, whereas this year was NEON YELLOW. You'll see a lot of that in the next batch of photos. We got to calling ourselves the highlighters, for obvious reasons. :)
I think what I enjoy most about the Festival de Cordas, Nathan Schwartzman, other than getting to work with the amazing students and colleagues, is the final concert. It starts with a small, advanced group, and then more students join in, for a little less advanced music, and then more, and more, working out to the youngest beginners. But everyone plays together. We fill the hall with fun and powerful music. It's such an incredible experience. I can just imagine the effect it has on the youngest players, to get to make REAL music with grown-ups, to a hall filled with admiring audience members! What a way to encourage a life-long love and appreciation of music.
After the festivities of the final concert wore down, the faculty and "graduate assistants" as I came to think of them (older students who worked with younger kids) all went to Cora's house, where we had the final celebration, and said goodbye to everyone. Fredi made caipirinhas, an alcoholic drink with lots of limes, sugar, and cachaça, a Brazilian alcohol made from sugar cane. We ate, drank, and were definitely very merry.
And that was that. Early the next morning, I was picked up, followed by the other viola faculty, and we headed to the airport, from where we flew to Brasilia. I'll post about that soon.
In the meantime, I want to express my sincere thanks to the entire Caparelli/Gerling family, and to absolutely everyone else who makes the Festival de Cordas, Nathan Schwartman possible. It is truly a special experience, not just for me as a teacher, but I know for the students as well. Music should not be a "high society" event, inaccessible for those who cannot "afford it." This festival invites every Brazilian who has a desire to make music into its midst, regardless of ability or means. It is a special and meaningful, and incredibly powerful Festival. Thank you, Uberlandia, for hosting such an event!