Reflections from Europe 2016 by Erick Lange
On May 8th, 2016, the Circle City Chorale finished up an eight day tour of Europe. The group visited and performed in three cities together: Prague, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria; and Budapest, Hungary. Many members extended their trip for a few days, going to cities like Paris, Berlin, and Milan at their own leisure
The first performance of the tour took place in a little church not more than a few miles from our hotel. The audience in Czech looked familiar, one of several audiences in the past, but the language barrier reminded us that we were about to perform in Europe for the first time ever. Between the ringing of the first note and the echo of the last, a silver thread was tied between two people separated by space and time, a thread that ran deep, primal, and universal. We were enthusiastically received, our first European concert, a relative success.
Unfortunately, by this time, a growing number of choir members were experiencing the onset of a strong cold that would exhibit ravaging flu-like symptoms as the tour went on. It affected spirit and body, but the will remained determined, strong. We would finish with great heart. The show must persist.
After a brief stop in the small village of Telc, we continued by bus to Vienna, grand city of music. From our bus tour and during free time, we saw the Gothic cathedral of St. Stephen’s Chapel, hallowed halls which blessed the marriage of Constanze and Vienna’s favorite celebrity, W. Amadeus Mozart.
While in Vienna, the choir traveled by coach to Matzen Raggendorf for our second performance. The Austrians are certainly receptive, but markedly a little more reserved than the Czech. They showed their appreciation differently with locally produced wine, gifts, and high praise both in person, and later in print as we found ourselves in their local paper a week later. We are making an impact here.
Our final concert of the tour took place in a one-hundred year old cathedral in Budapest, Hungary. We performed for a full audience that was not only the most receptive, but thoroughly engaged as well. The acoustics of the venue were perfectly tuned to both delicate and dynamic choral sound, which saved our straining voices. The cathedral, in this way, was a Godsend.
The audience in Budapest was a source of joy and encouragement. They were our best audience and we gave them our best performance of the tour, despite how our bodies felt. The performance elicited tears, we were told, and according to tour guest and longtime C3 member, Heather Stern, we “sounded angelic.” The night ended with two standing ovations, two encores, and a warm invitation to return.
In an earlier article I gave an interview with director, Angela Rosser, who stated before our tour that we would all bring our shared experience in Europe home to Corona, that the memories we gained would enrich our lives, form lifelong bonds, and give us new cultural and musical perspectives. It has. It grows every day we see each other. And it’s irreplaceable.