Day 7 and Concert 3 in Litomysl

This has to be one of the most beautiful drives this writer has done in a long time. Rolling hills, long lines of fields and patches of tall tress all in the many shades of green with patches of yellow and white thrown in. The white, I learned is poppy seed (not opium) used in a special pastry called Kolache. We arrived in the small town of Litomsyl (pop. 10,000). It is lovely and very quaint. It was probably the most relaxing day we have had since we arrived. A picnic in a beautiful park for lunch. People kicked off their shoes and enjoyed the cool breezes. Kids didn't have balls to play with, so the lunch apple became a tossing toy. It was fun to watch them throw them back and forth to each other. A little free time to wander around and then a short tour of Smetana's house and then off to rehearsal. Kids really loved the venue. I personally am very jealous and would love to be up on stage with them.  After rehearsal a little fun around city spending all their money as we are leaving tomorrow and it is best to spend the Kournas then keep them.  Dinner was at a school cafeteria and it wasn't bad. A chicken soup that was very delicious, beef with rice and sauce, salad, sweet carrots and watermelon. It was prepared for us by the ladies who do the school lunches and honestly it was very fresh. We were told by our guide that all the cooks at any school are professionally trained and started going to school for cooking at 16. They are trained to cook with only the freshest ingredients. Gotta love that. After dinner we headed back to the hall to prepare for the concert.  Concert 3 – Litomsyl Festival I am sitting in an upper balcony section. The area is square shaped, the orchestra is below in the square in an outside stage but they are covered. In front of them are rows and rows of seats. Behind me is a view of the city and Smetana's birthplace. I have gorgeous views of so many things. It is a beautiful evening. The air has cooled and there is a slight breeze. Clouds float through the sky and the setting sun is behind us kissing another part of the castle. Birds are flying all around and dogs are barking off in the distance. It is truly surreal. The air has a clean smell and is most relaxing.  And all this is happening while the Copland is being performed. I'm going to say it – I love my job, you cannot get much better then this. Next they performed the Xi Wang, a nice performance but I'm still not sure if the audience is warming up. The Dvorak is really starting to come together and by the end of the tour it should be close to perfect. Once again the audience loved it.  Pictures at an Exhibition was much better tonight, the kids seemed more relaxed so the solos were lovely. I want to say nice job to Trevor Meagher for the Euphonium solo. One very cool thing to tell you about – in the lobby there are a series of paintings, each represent the movements of Pictures at an Exhibition. They were painted just for this concert and were only on display for one night. Also, the artist was there and people could meet him. I have pictures and promise to post. Four encores were performed. This audience loved them. After every encore they were on their feet, cheering and clapping. On Stars and Stripes people were clapping and dancing. It was really fun to be a part of this and if there was one concert I could bring you all to, it would have been this one.  Fantastic!