October 20, 2002

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:50am, but because of newly federalized security at Orange County airport, we had been advised to arrive three hours early. We boarded the airport shuttle just after 6am (missing a few people whose wake-up calls failed to materialize), and were at the airport before 6:20am. We then proceed to wait for the Southwest airlines employees to arrive. I think it's bad business to ask your customers to arrive before your employees do. By 6:45am, we were in front of gate #2, with a full two hours to sit around wondering why we had arrived so early.

The Schola Cantorum boarded a flight an hour after our flight. I wish I had been there to witness their antics! I heard that they were singing and dancing by their gate -- at eight in the morning -- and that on the airplane, flight attendants had to announce that the plane "would not take off until Venezuela sits down." :)

Even though Stanford's Memorial Auditorium is considerally smaller than Segerstrom Hall, the concert did not sell out (which was strange, considering that it was Lively Arts' "centerpiece" show for the year). These three West Coast concerts have been only ones so far that have not sold out, and it left all of us wondering if something was wrong with arts appreciation in California. La Pasión has received more publicity than anything else that hits the halls we played in.

Sound check was at 6pm, and food awaited us, backstage. The sound check involved the same chaos that that we experienced in Orange County; the sound crew seems to start over at every venue with the same initial problems (and associated stress). I stuck around, taking photos on stage after the strings were no longer needed, but was kicked out a little later (with Ben) by the tour manager because he and sound check guy found us "distracting." Fair enough, but I think it was really because Ben told them that the chorus mics were pointed too low.

The show went well, though, and we received a standing ovation. Like in Orange County, a large Venezuelan flag was unfurled from the balcony. My sister told me that she felt like she had been "under a spell" during the performance, and an audience member stopped me after the show and said to me: "I'm 78 years old, and I've been to a lot of concerts. I've never, in my life, seen a performance so well received!"

After the show, we migrated to the Bechtel International Center, where the Venezuelan International Student Association was throwing a reception. As I am learning, the Venezuelans on the tour never stop singing and dancing. :)

Special thanks to Osvaldo Golijov for making this all possible, and to Barry Shiffman for involving and coordinating the Stanford Chamber Strings! Also, if you are interested in purchasing a recording of the Stuttgart premiere, you can buy the cd from amazon.