I've been in Varano for three days now, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. A few things things to note: 1) I can see the stars again! 2) It's terrifying to cross the street in southern Italy, and more pedestrians must be struck down here than anywhere I've ever visited, 3) I still derive immense pleasure from listening to woodwind quintets, whether in performance, in rehearsal, through a wall while I'm napping... it's all enjoyable, 4) All southern Italians are friendly and helpful (based on a sample size of ~12, including a man named Gianfranco, who bought a round of beer for me and Scott when we were stuck at a random train station after experiencing an apparently typical mishap of the railway system).
Last Saturday I enjoyed an intimate performance by our quintet at C'era una volta. Italian visitors from as far as Salerno came to hear the program and share a lavish dinner prepared by our host, Tonino. The energy in the room was thrilling, and after the performance, Regina told me that some of the din from the audience was actually fascination about the bassoon!
Here's a shot of Ben and Christina during the performance, and one of Regina holding a sign.