Note: This is the first in a series of entries about the Westminster Choir’s 2016 residency at the 2016 Spoleto Festival USA.
Life lesson for all choir directors: do all in your power to never have a call time before the local coffee shops in town are open. Our bus call for the flight to Charleston was 6:30 a.m., and the energy level of the choir was at a minimum. Yet, under-caffeinated and perpetually yawning as we were, we shoved our luggage under the bus and drove to Newark airport. The security line was backlogged, mostly because the entirety of Westminster Choir was still trying to wake up while going through TSA. The plane was insanely tiny – so small that Dr. Miller couldn’t stand up straight while walking to find his seat. Like any early flight, all who could, slept. When we landed, we did the usual scramble to grab luggage and then crammed into a couple of vans to drive to our dorm.
So a lot of people ask, “Do y’all get to stay in a hotel while performing at Spoleto?” No such luck. That being said, the College of Charleston lets us room in their dorms, which is pretty fun. We all have at least one roommate, and we normally share a bathroom with three other people. After checking in, we had the whole day to explore and acquaint ourselves with the streets of beautiful Charleston.
At 9:00 p.m., we met in the dorm lobby to talk to Dr. Miller about rehearsals and the upcoming weeks. He did his usual spiel as Encyclopedia of the choir and told us about the best restaurants, hang out spots, along with notable flora and fauna in the area. (He even made a contest to see who could find a passion flower growing in Charleston. The winner, he said, would get to enjoy a cold drink with him on his patio.) Then off to sleep we went!