• Remarkable Experiences Near and Far Away

    by  • September 24, 2019 • Music Program, Student Life, Uncategorized, Undergraduate Programs, Workshops • 0 Comments



    Vanna Tsiknias, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    We have been in Italy for about a month now and it is everything plus more than I could’ve imagined. I’ve been out of the country a couple of times, but actually living here is a whole different experience. I’m living and getting to explore this beautiful country with some of my closest friends and I’ve had much more free time here that when I am at Furman, so I have had the time to really slow down and enjoy the people and places around me. I have also eaten more pasta than ever in my life, which is not a bad thing! My favorite city we have been to so far is Venice! Everywhere you look and every corner you turn, there is a stunning view. We got to see the Doge’s Palace and many churches like St. Marks, which were all unbelievably beautiful. Sadly, we did not get to ride in a gondola, but that just gives me a reason to come back again!

    At first studying in Italy for 3 months seemed a little daunting, but I already know choosing to study abroad here was the right decision. We still have so many cities left to explore and so many adventures ahead of us!


    Micah Arms, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    My time at the Accademia dell’Arte so far has been filled with fresh insights and creativity. I have been able to discover my strengths and weaknesses as a person and what I need to work on. Even though I am part of the music program at the Accademia, I have traveled out of my comfort zone with the theatre program as well. One of my favorite moments so far was the combination of music and theatre in the “Music with Movement” collaboration with Yo-El Cassell this past week. The students were able to move with freedom and fill up the room with energy as many musical styles and tempos moved with them. The theatre students were given cards with nouns to reenact over a period of time, like the game charades,  and watching all of them move around as I played the trumpet. Through this and many other events I have learned that art does not come from just sounding good making music, but building a relationship between theatre and music and anything we create here. Every day I have learned to be a part of all the events here and just enjoy being together as a group. These three months at the Accademia this fall are the only time this group of students will be together ever again and I am excited to learn how each one of them makes art in their own way. I am going to go home in a few months with a new sense of culture, new friendships, and a fresh outlook on life that will shape me as an artist. Thanks Accademia dell’Arte!

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    Karen Mendes-Escobar, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    This has been a week primarily focused on travel to Venice for the music students. After having a daunting conducting quiz earlier in the week, this trip to Venice was very well received. Everything about Venice felt surreal; from the amount of pigeons in the street, to the NYC traffic in the water. One of my favorite outings in Venice was seeing Tosca at La Fenice. The space was as stunning as the performance which made me cry at the end of each act and both intermissions. It was very humbling to sit in a space where so many top notch performers, conductors, and leaders have been. I also enjoyed learning about the history of the space the following day when we went on the tour of La Fenice. I think that now one of my personal goals is to perform in this hall! We also visited several churches with amazing displays of art and architecture that were absolutely breathtaking. On our last day in Venice our group of students took a ferry to visit the grave of Igor Stravinsky, one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. Seeing his grave I was overcome with the realization that I never pictured myself ever being able to have an experience like this. We even stood there as a group and listened to some sections of our favorite pieces by Stravinsky. I am so glad I was able to have this experience with friends that felt the same musical gravity of our location and the music.




    Jake Henjes, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    While in Venice we were fortunate enough to attend a performance at La Fenice of Tosca. It was truly remarkable to sit and take in an opera in a hall that has so much musical history. Walking in and seeing the space of the hall was breathtaking the intricate moldings and gold leaf all throughout the theater. Sitting in the hall and knowing that so many important performers, conductors, and government officials had been in the same space was very cool! The performance was wonderful, and the musicians sounded phenomenal. It was even better to go back the next day and tour La Fenice and learn more about the building and its history. I had no idea that the theater had burned twice and currently stands as it was replicated as closely to the original as possible in 1996. I was very interested to learn that all of the gold moldings are paper mâché that have been coated in gold leaf. We learned in the tour that 3 kilos of gold was used in recreating the theater. This was a wonderful experience I look forward to sharing with my future students in my classes.

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    Blake Merritt, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    Being here in Italy is an experience like no other. One minute you could be in Arezzo and the next in Venice in the matter of a few hours, so traveling is one of my favorite aspects of this study away. One Sunday afternoon, a teacher, a couple other students, and I took a car ride to the hill town of Montepulciano. Being in a city like this was completely different from visiting a city like Florence or Venice: No train station is nearby so car is the only way to reach it. Once in the city, there is no “hustle and bustle”. Everything is relatively calm and quiet. The people there aren’t trying to take advantage of you as a tourist and are incredibly nice. When in a foreign country, visit the places that aren’t on trip advisor, you might just have an incredible experience.


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