Gorizia strattles the Slovenian/Italian border the way that Wendover links Utah with Nevada. That’s actually an apt comparison, since Novo Gorizia (the Slovenian side) bills itself at the Las Vegas of Slovenia thanks to a plethora of casinos. Having seen Las Vegas and now Novo Gorizia…I think the Wendover comparison may be more accurate.
The Singers performed in a modern concert hall on the Italian side of the city…but air conditioning was still absent. I sat next to a slightly crotchety elderly man who seemed unhappy that I dared to occupy the chair next to him and was fairly determined not to enjoy the concert. As the evening progressed, however, he softened and smiled more often and the applause that started out as sparse and grudging soon turned more enthusiastic.
The concert here was just “American” music and the crowd ate it up. They were also delighted with Andy Maughan’s ability to MC the program in Italian. But once again, it was the Slovenian folk songs that sent a tangible current through the audience. Dr. Allred saved the numbers for the encore and the response was amazing. It started with an audible “ahhhhhh” when the choir began Pa Se Slis and ended with thunderous applause, cheers, and a standing ovation two songs later. And the songs simply melted the heart of my grumpy companion. At the first tones, he sat bolt upright in his chair, then leaned forward until I thought for sure he would topple from his seat. A grin spread across his face and he cheered wildly when the music ended.
Once again the audience spent another hour after the concert visiting with the Singers and as the tour bus pulled away, there were still people standing on the sidewalk, waving goodbye in the darkness.