When I look back at my time here at the Accademia dell’Arte, there are many things that stand out as memorable and even, in some cases, life changing. Something in particular that stands out as a weekly memory would be movement classes with Stella. No matter how hard a day I was having at the time, movement always seemed to relax and focus me simultaneously, so that afterward I felt like a new person. Her soothing voice coupled with her knowledge of how to engage and isolate different parts of the body opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about the human voice and what produces it.
Another more particular aspect that comes to mind from my time here at the ADA would be the first fall showcase. For one of the first times in my singing career, I felt positive energy before the performance from all of those around me, and therefore was not effected by my usual nerves. Afterwards all students were welcomed to a beautiful banquet of aperitifs prepared by the amazing mensa staff, and we stayed out for hours talking and bonding over our performances and common interests within the arts.
A final memory that I hold dear would be the first Caberet performance. Though I only had a small part in the final program, collaborating with such like minded artists was exhilarating. It was inspiring to see how many creative ideas people were able to come up with and filter into a final performance that we were all extremely proud of.
During my time here at the Accademia, I can think of two specific events that have stuck out to me. First would be my daily schedule of walking into town and practicing organ at the beautiful church of Santa Maria della Pieve. For me it has been a wonderful experience to come to Italy and focus on historical music where much of this repertoire was composed. The process of walking into town every day and playing in such a beautiful, extravagant and historic church was not only a unique opportunity but also one that inspired me and allowed me to rediscover my love for organ performance and will propel me in my future endeavors.
Another outlet for our creative energy that was encouraged by the ADA was the planning and implementation of special events by various assigned groups. Through this process not only were we able to come up with ingenious, fun and engaging activities, but as a result we bonded as a community by learning a little more about each other. It is great to be exposed to other people’s creative ideas, backgrounds, and inspirations because it allows us to extend our breadth of social interaction and encourage others in their own.
It still feels odd to think that we’ve been here for almost 3 months. Back home in the Carolinas, I would be getting excited for Thanksgiving break, final exams, and the pending promise of the end of the semester. Don’t doubt that I’m not looking forward to all of those things here in Arezzo, but it’s different knowing that when the semester is over, I won’t be coming back to this place, full of friends who have become a unique part of my semester, or to the familiar classrooms and Mensa food that have become natural parts of my day. Daily life will change in a way that I can’t fathom and that I’m definitely not ready to let go of yet. I still can’t imagine that I won’t be walking into the Mensa for the authentic Tuscan cuisine or the conversations that can stretch throughout the full hour of lunch or dinner. Where will I do yoga back at Furman? There’s certainly no space as quiet as the Teatrino, nor with a view as brilliant as the Arezzo skyline. I don’t even want to think about my Italian skills dimishing, as I’ll no longer have anyone to correct me for my broken grammar or motivation to make sure I can communicate with locals. These three things are just small factors that go into shaping the experience that I’ve had here, but the real take-away that emerges rom all of them are the people who made my time here so special.
I love that there’s always someone to talk to at every meal, and that I don’t have to worry about hurrying off to my next class and rushing through lunch with small talk. There’s value in the conversations that we have during this communal time, where everyone stops being a student and instead becomes the person they are outside the practice room or class time.
Even though Italian class is sometimes the longest part of the day, there is nothing more rewarding than being about to converse in the national language, especially when situations demand it! There has certainly been a communal struggle to speak in Italian by everyone here, and even though it’s usually extremely funny to hear friends speak the language, it’s always humbling when you learn something from mistakes, both those made by others and your own! I will never forget Italian skit day, where we all braved our fears of effective communication and just had fun laughing at these ridiculous Italian scenarios that we’d imagined. I honestly think I laughed more in those 2 hours that I did the entire semester!
It’s the hours, the minutes, and the days that these moments exist in, but when compounded, somehow they equal an entire semester. In the moment, they seem fleeting, like we’ll never run out of time to enjoy them. But all of a sudden, I find myself with only 12 more days here and longing for more moments that can somehow make up for all that I’m going to miss when I go home in a little more than a week. This unspoken reverence is something I think about almost everyday, when I laugh at jokes at lunchtime, run to the window with everyone to watch the sunset, or listen to five different instruments playing at once throughout the Villa. There is so much here that I cannot conceive of never experiencing again, but it is these profound moments that strike me as the most poignant, where for an instant time stops just so I can take the time to file the memory and savor the moment for its worth. Because very soon, that’s all I’ll have- these loosely categorized memories that float in and out of time.