It is 9:30 p.m. and the TrumpetFest “Concerto Finale” is about to begin. Martina suggests we wait three or four minutes for latecomers to find seats or find standing positions along the walls of the anteroom. Several trumpet players in the back quietly practice tricky finger patterns, moving the valves up and down on their instruments.

But, mostly, it’s about having been in Orvieto for a week and feeling safe and quiet and welcome.

I stand in the anteroom throughout the concert, feeling like a maître d’: starting applause when necessary as performers enter the atrium — greeting others as they return at the end of a piece — keeping an eye on stage management — quietly talking with audience members who approach me with questions and invitations to perform.

And I listen intently to our students as they play and sing. They are excited, focused, but also, somehow, relaxed. I think it’s partly the inviting venue – the stone floor — the high, peaked glass ceiling – the anteroom full of book displays and rattan furniture — the audience sitting in chairs just ten feet in front of them.

I think it’s also knowing many of the audience members by sight, having passed them all week as they’ve swept the street in front of their shops, sold pastries to them, or seen them at the open air market.

But, mostly, it’s about having been in Orvieto for a week and feeling safe and quiet and welcome. It’s about being mostly unplugged and living life as it was lived last century. It’s about adding the musical beauty they bring to the beauty already surrounding them.

In the end it turns out to have been one of the finest concerts Orvieto Musica has given. The students play and sing confidently, expressively and joyfully, knowing that the performance is going well. The audience is quiet and attentive and responsive. The faculty are pleased.

At the end we take pictures and walk off in small groups to get some gelato. And I walk home, quietly renewed.

– Nyela Basney