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Singing in Italy

Dear Savvy Traveler,

Recently I returned home from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy. I sing in a group called Musica Sacra, from Mobile, Alabama. We sing glorious music that was written to be sung in great church sanctuaries: Gregorian chants, Durufle's "Our Father," Palestrina's "Magnificat," and Handl's "Duo Seraphim" for double choir. On this trip, we had the opportunity to perform this music in some of the world's most extraordinary churches: St. Marks in Venice, St. Paul's Outside the Wall, and St. Peter's in Rome. We also sang at a smaller church in Florence, Santa Margareta de la Chiesa.

The trip was inspirational. When it takes the last note 15 seconds to die away at the end of the song, you remember it. When you are surrounded by mosaics, sculptures, and buildings that were built long before our country was even discovered, you remember it. When they ring the bells of the third largest basilica in the world for you, you remember it. And when you perform in places where people have been singing these same words for centuries, you remember it. The music was awesome in such incredible surroundings. The entire group felt honored and blessed to be able to sing at these historic, inspiring sanctuaries.

But on to some practical suggestions for keeping your vacation alive:

1. Go with someone you love -- or at least like. That way, you can share the memories and keep them alive. 2. Do something memorable, whether it's singing at Italy's great cathedrals or learning how to water ski. 3. Buy books on where you've been. Our photos are priceless, but we rushed through some sites quickly, and frequently we didn't have time for photographs. 4. Buy some good chocolate or other candy at your destination, and make it last when you get home. Savor every bite, and relive your trip as you enjoy it.

And last but not least . . .

5. Don't spend all of your vacation money. I still have a $20 tucked away, and vacation isn't over until it's gone.





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