Monday 24 April
After 2 days of practising at the spacious and elegant villa belonging to the family of choir member Nivedak Corrodini overlooking Florence, the first day of public performances was in churches in Florence.
1) The first performance, at 9am was in San Remigio, an historical church founded around the year 1000 and dedicated to Saint Remigius. In the 13th century, the church was reconstructed. Unpretentious from the outside, the interior carries an ancient, silent religiosity which was the perfect setting for our debut performance of this tour-pilgrimage.
2) The easiest way to get around in Florence is on foot. Can there be anywhere in the world with more churches – all of them magnificent and many utterly breathtaking – in such close proximity? Our second venue was only a few blocks away, and just as well as the next performance was at 10am at the Church of San Filippo Neri, part of the 17th century Complex of San Firenze.
3 and 4) The most famous venue Oneness-Dream visited today was the Basilica of Santa Croce, from 11am. The Basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world, with a floorpan 115 metres in length. Some of Italy’s most famous sons are buried within the church, including Dante, Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and the composer Rossini. Oneness-Dream did not have an officially scheduled performance here though we were able to sing a few songs within the precinct outdoors in the Chiostro di Arnolfo and then by a stroke of extraordinary good fortune, in the renowned and acoustically-stunning Cappella dei Pazzi (designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and completed in 1470), where our soloist Adarsha Kelly received an outburst of ovation from a large gathering of Spanish students.
5) There was time for a quick bite at one of Florence’s multidutinous cafes en route to our next performance at 2.30pm, at the Basilica di Santa Trinita, overlooking the Piazza of the same name. This imposing 12th century church includes 20 chapels, many bedecked with frescoes, altarpieces and tabernacles by the great masters.
6) Our final performance for this extraordinary day was in the gorgeous and impressive Basilica di San Marco. A good number of tourists visiting the church were inclined to stay and enjoy the singing, along with a wandering monk who was effusive in his appreciation of the performance.