Today was our free day. We all spent the day as we wished, a welcome break from the rigorous travel schedule. I was particularly blessed to have a friend from Sweden, Anna Larson, a musician and singer, come to Oslo to visit. We rented a studio downtown with a piano and spent hours reading and singing through folk tunes from Sweden, and a few from Norway. We had met each other about 7 years previously, when mallet percussionist, Anders Åstrand, was invited by Dr. Morris Palter and the percussion group 64.8 from my alma mater, The University of Alaska Fairbanks. I was lucky enough to conduct the ensemble in Ionization by Varèse. Anna had come over with him, and sang a concert of Swedish folk tunes accompanied by percussion/vibraphone that was utterly stunning. So catching up with Anna, in Scandinavia, singing folk songs was so beautiful and so renewing. We were almost able to forget my terrible piano playing!

Tonight, most of the choir went out to an Indian restaurant together, then a jazz club – the last night in Oslo has both the sweetness of the thought of returning home, and the sadness of leaving such a wonderful place filled with lovely memories, lasting friendships, and lifted voices with friends. This trip was beautiful. And we are all so grateful to all the people who made this possible. And we are especially grateful to Libby Claerbout, who left Oslo earlier, but without whom this trip wouldn’t have been possible! Our hearts are full!