P is for Privilege Posted on January 24th, 2011 by

A view of the river in Florence near the Uffizi gallery, which the choir will tour tomorrow. (Photo by Chris Duhaime '12)

Before performances the Gustavus Choir often has “Building Block,” which is a brief “team huddle” where a student shares his or her personal reflection for pre-concert inspiration and team building.

Prior to today’s (Sunday,  Jan. 23, 2011) concert in Florence at Santa Maria dei Ricci, tenor Wes Baish ’13 talked about privilege. Recalling his youth and the fact that he watched Sesame Street often because where he grew up (Iowa) there were only three television station options.

So in Sesame Street fashion, Wes said: “P is for Privilege.” He mentioned that it stands for the privilege he feels being in the G Choir and being in Italy for this trip.

To expand on Wes’ theme, P is for Privilege in so many ways:

  • For the Gustavus Choir and its members who have God-given singing talent (not everyone can produce such glorious sounds with their voice);
  • For audience members who hear and respond to the beautiful music (the Italian people appreciate culture);
  • For being nicely-accommodated, well-fed, and well-clothed;
  • For the comforts of home that are often taken for granted, like 24-7 fast and reliable Internet access.

While Florence (aka Firenze) is the birthplace of the Renaissance, arguably the best place in the world to study art and art history, a fashion mecca, and a bustling city of nearly 400,000 people, the technology lags behind that which we experience at home in America.

The hotel provides free Internet, which is wireless, but it continually crashes and is often not working at all. Same with the local Internet cafes (“Sorry, it’s not working today,” is the response). Luckily for you readers, a fee-based Internet Point with computers was found. Unfortunately photos and video still can’t be uploaded because there is no connection for laptop computers.

Stay tuned for more when Internet access is more available . . . or when it is working again. Maybe tomorrow.

For now, know the Gustavus Choir and Companion Tour are having a grand time exploring the orange-rooftopped community. Today (Monday) is a free day.

Last night the choir performed a concert in a humble church in an upscale shopping district and at a 9 p.m. mass at a very ornate church nearby.

After the mass, some Companion Tour members found an Irish pub to watch the Green Bay-Chicago football game (American football!). In another part of the pub, locals were watching European football (soccer!)

Ciao for now.


One Comment

  1. Mara says:

    I am printing each of these fabulous posts and sending them to Stephanie LaFayette’s home-bound grandmother so she can share the experiences vicariously. She cries after reading each one (good tears). Most of us will never make such an interesting, educational, and delicious trip! Enjoy and come home with of photos LaFayettes!