My first stop on this grand adventure was 30 minutes outside of Temuco, Chile. After spending the night on the airplane, I landed in Santiago and hopped onto a night-bus that ended up in Temuco, Chile the following morning. A white mini-van came to pick me up at the bus stop at 7am and took me to Mahani’s Mom’s house in the beautiful Chilean countryside outside of Temuco. The house was filled with performers from Easter Island as they had had a fundraising event the night before I arrived. The house was full of sleeping performers. I found a bed, and continued sleeping, too. We all woke up and had breakfast together. Two of the younger girls, 9 & 11 I had shared breakfast with turned out were musicians, so we went to the piano room to play music together. They were two of the current students enrolled in the Music School Mahani Teave has started on Easter Island.
Mahani and I rehearsed that day in this bucolic Chilean countryside. It was heaven. That night I was so enthralled with the evening sounds that I decided to sleep with the window open. To my horror, I woke up with a spider just above my head. I still don’t know what kind of spider it was, except that it really gave me an enormous and itchy bite that lasted the rest of the tour and to this day is still not fully healed! Nasty was this spider’s middle name!
The following morning, we took the bus into Valdivia where we were to perform the following evening. We were met at the bus stop by Florangel and Jorge whom had approached me via Facebook. They had graciously offered to host me in a Masterclass for their students at the Conservatory in Valdivia. They were such warm, fun and generous people. It was such a pleasure to hear their students some of whom were some of the finest in the world! Who knew that there was such a vibrant Flute Community in Valdivia, Chile!
Our concert took place the following day after my Masterclass. I was impressed that both the Masterclass and the concert were announced separately and with large color pictures in the newspaper. This really helped bring in our terrific audience. It was a great theater, we had a great turn out, and we got a standing ovation. It was so wonderful to be back on the stage in Chile with such a wonderful musician. Mahani is not only a fantastic, sensitive musician, but a magnificent woman with a glorious heart.
Next, I boarded the plane to my birth town Concepcion where I was picked up by my Aunt and Uncle Carmen and Eugenio. It was such a joy to see them both again as they are such warm and kind people. I hadn’t seen them for over a decade as I hadn’t performed in Concepcion since I played there with the orchestra. After Mahani arrived, we were interviewed on the morning TV show, and the newspapers. The day of the concert I held a Masterclass at the Conservatory in Concepcion.
The concert was so very well received that we got rhythmic applause! I hadn’t heard that kind of response since I played as a soloist with the orchestra in Khabarovsk, Russia. We played our encores and then some of the students from the University of Bio Bio surprised us by performing music from Easter Island in honor of Mahani. She felt so inspired that she started to dance. Then an audience member Enrique Icka jumped on stage and joined her. Soon enough, I was dancing, too. What a magical exchange it was. Thank you Concepcion!
The following day, we took a bus back to Santiago after which we were scheduled to perform for The President of Chile and his Authorities in Viña del Mar. This was quite the Gala Event complete with red carpet, TV cameras, and fancy cobalt blue lights, all of which took place in the newly renovated historic Hotel O’Higgins. We even made into the Chilean Newspaper socialite page. It was all very cool.
Ten days after my initial spider bite, finally, I found some time to go visit with a doctor when we were back in Santiago who put special creams on it and gave me some antibiotics as the bite was looking worse than ever. It was amazing to me how fierce those little insects can be. More than anything my wound itched like crazy and after the doctor placed the healing Duraderm patch on it, I felt a bit of relief. It was really a lesson on assuming a very Zen-like attitude in spite of yielding to scratch the itch. My motto became: Observe. Release. Resist. I wondered if this lesson needed to be transferred to other areas of my life.
Our days were filled with more interviews that lead up to our concerts in Valparaiso and Santiago. The concert in Valparaiso was in the Universidad Technica de Santa Maria, my father’s Alma Mater. I had performed there previously 7 years prior. The campus is alluring as it overlooks the enthralling Valparaiso Harbor. The best part of this concert is that so many friends and family came. After the concert it was like a real homecoming for me. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces.
A few days later we performed for the bank executives of the Banco Santander at the MAC Museo de Artes Contemporeano, the MOMA of Santiago. This event was also filmed in this magnificent building. And our final concert was held at the Escuela Moderna. Immediately that evening was my flight home. By then, 3 weeks later, my spider bite was still not much better. In addition, that morning, I woke up with a severely stiff neck.
In hindsight it was probably my body that was rebelling and pleading for some time off. My dilemma is always the fact that I ADORE touring and performing; so much so that I’ve turned into a Super Road Warrior. I remember that during our demanding Asian Tour, Mahani was the one who’s health started caving towards the end of our stay in China. Touring is not for sissies that’s for sure. Nevertheless, I always learn so much from traveling and performing. I gain such inspiration from the cultural exchanges, and all the smiling people I meet along the way. I rested the day I got home and then embarked on my next adventure.
p.s. An extended THANK YOU and shout out goes to Mahani’s beautiful, meticulous and super organized sister, Teamai Teave for making this Tour of Chile especially wonderful, fruitful, comfortable and above all, JOYFUL!!!! VIVA TEA!!! VIVA MAHA!!! LAS QUIERO MUCHO!!!!