#246

2018 Tour Stop #14: Sydney, Australia

A photo of the Sydney Skyline!  Photo by Kevin Kearns #244

A photo of the Sydney Skyline!

Photo by Kevin Kearns #244

G’day mate, and greetings from down unda! Welcome to Sydney, Australia: home of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, many marsupials, and of course, Nemo’s temporary residence during his dry-land-days. While we weren’t able to track down P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, the Dins did have a lot of fun in this wonderful seaside city. 

We kicked off our stay with a performance at St. Paul’s College of Sydney University, which happens to be Australia’s oldest university college. This ended up being a performance during a welcome dinner for the spring semester (southern hemisphere = flipped seasons!) and new residents of the college. After the performance, some of the Dins split off to explore various parts of Sydney’s night life. Eli and I journeyed out to some of the historic bars and pubs, such as the Hero of Waterloo pub, the oldest pub in Sydney, and others went to get late night bubble tea—continuing a tradition of attempting to have bubble tea at every stop on tour! 

A photo of the iconic Sydney Opera House.  Photo by Eli Troen #250

A photo of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Photo by Eli Troen #250

As we approach the end of tour, the conversations and memories made tend to be equally poignant and reflective, looking back at all that we have done and all we have seen. Sydney is a beautiful place for such experiences. It really is a very relaxing city. It also happens to be the first place where everyone has spoken English since being in London in early June...albeit with a distinct accent!

The following day was spent traveling around the city, exploring parks, walking along the harbor and doing the things recommended by “true Sydney-siders,” the proud residents who have always called Sydney home. Some went to the Taronga Zoo to see koalas, Tasmanian devils, and wombats, while Sam, Sang-o, Eli and I went to catch a matinée at the Sydney Opera House called The Long Forgotten Dream. The show engaged not only with the intersection between traditional indigenous aboriginal culture and fast-paced western culture but also specifically learning how to participate in the globalized world, while still remaining tuned in and reverent to ancestry.

Jubilant Dins boating on the Sydney Harbor!  Photo by Kevin Kearns #244

Jubilant Dins boating on the Sydney Harbor!

Photo by Kevin Kearns #244

That night, we held our final international performance of our 2018 World Tour at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. The performance was one to remember, with a wonderful setting, excellent lamb cutlets from New Zealand, delightful conversation, and an impromptu performance from one of the guests who played the spoons! Absolutely wild, right? And both Dins and audience enjoyed the evening immensely. Enjoying the uncluttered vibe of Sydney, I joined Dins and went stargazing, since for the first time in months, we found ourselves in a place with such low light pollution that we could see every star in the sky.

Casually backflipping into the ocean during Winter.  GIF by Eli Troen #250

Casually backflipping into the ocean during Winter.

GIF by Eli Troen #250

Our final day in Sydney was a particularly fun one, as one of the hosts graciously offered to take the Dins boating in Sydney Harbour. So, the day passed by with kind company and a series of shenanigans, like doing flips off of the front of the boat into the harbour with the Sydney Opera house as a backdrop. Truly a landmark way to begin bringing the final international stop to a close. At night, we celebrated with our hosts, at a wonderful potluck (with a spread unlike anything I have ever witnessed), singing a few final songs and drinking local Shiraz.

We all agree that Sydney was one of the most remarkable moments on tour, and while we are excited to head home to the United States, the end of this phenomenal tour stop is bittersweet.

Austin Lentsch #246

2018 Tour Stop #6: Paris, France

*in heavy French accent* Bonne journee et bonjour, welcome to the place du pan au chocolate, des croissants, et vraiment boucoup de vin.

During our time in Paris (pronounced pear-ee), the Dins were certainly living la vie en rose (coincidentally, a song which we slid into our sets a few times, for the wonderful Sydney Mukasa #234 to serenade our francophone audiences in their own tongue!) 

A gaggle of Dins outside the Centre Pompidou.  Photo by Eli Troen #250

A gaggle of Dins outside the Centre Pompidou.

Photo by Eli Troen #250

Hosted by some gracious individuals from the Harvard Club of Paris, we stayed for about four days in the beautiful City. As far as sightseeing, from the Musee de’Orsay to the Sacre-Coeur on Montmarte to the Louvre and Sainte-Chapelle, we saw the sights and heard the sounds from edge to edge of Paris, as much as we could see in the few days that we were there.

A photo of the floor-to-ceiling stained glass in Sainte-Chappele.  Photo by Eli Troen #250 

A photo of the floor-to-ceiling stained glass in Sainte-Chappele.

Photo by Eli Troen #250 

Our highlighted performances in Paris were definitely those at the Travellers’ Club and a joint performance at the Church Notre Dame du Travail as a part of Fete de la Musique with a Basque choir whom we’ve performed with on tours past. In the former, we performed for a small audience in a sitting room sort of setting, which always gives that up-close-and-personal sort of vibe, where you get to single out audience members and create an individually-cultured experience for each person. For the latter, the joint performance with the Basque choir, we sang a couple songs jointly in Basque, which was a load of fun. Learning new music and singing in different styles is always a welcome learning opportunity, and it shows us how far we’ve come in just a year of singing together, when we can work up songs in just a day or two. After our performance for Fete de la Musique, we shared an evening at a Basque restaurant, where the two groups traded songs and merriment over traditional food and drink. For dessert, we were all treated to some Gateaux Basque, a miraculous almond custard cake served with berry jam!

We also had the chance to make a short excursion over to Chantilly (pronounced shan-tee) to perform for a fundraiser for their local church, Saint Peter’s. This fundraiser was to kickstart a new initiative to renovate the stained glass, as the church celebrates its 100th anniversary. The performance in Chantilly goes down as one of my favorite of tour so far, and I’m sure will be one of the treasured memories years down the road. We performed en plein air, in a private garden theatre overlooking a beautiful pond and perfectly preened gardens. During our performance, some peacocks were calling to one another across the stage, sounding like screaming youngins, and to the amusement of all performers and audience members present, one wandered onto our stage during the performance of our song What a Wonderful World

Dins Eli, Austin, and Sydney taking inspiration from Lime Statues.  Photo by Sam Rosner #245

Dins Eli, Austin, and Sydney taking inspiration from Lime Statues.

Photo by Sam Rosner #245

After the peacock was gently shooed away, another approached from the other side and thought about following suit, but it reconsidered and left us to finish our set. Never would I have expected to have a performance in the Dins to be interrupted by a peacock, let alone two! We actually added a cameo performance of Brian Rolincik #240 giving his best peacock imitation during a round of Din Impressions. Pulling off-the-cuff humor like that into our performances, and the ability to adapt that we’ve developed, as a result of our comfort with one another on stage, is one of my favorite parts of being in the Dins. Not only does it provide the tools to manage crazy situations during performance, but it also just makes being on stage so fun for all of us..

During our last night in Paris, a few of us Dins spent the night along the Seine River, watching passerby and chatting into the early morning--a phenomenal way to bring our sixth stop to a close.

Adieu, Au Reviour, Bonsoir, or as they say in Paris, un autre Américain?!

Austin Lentsch #246