The Hendersons Salzburg and our concert in Bergheim
2002 Choral Union European Concert Tour and Our Subsequent Vacation
July 20, 2002 – Saturday – Vienna to Salzburg
Today we are taking a coach to Salzburg. The road is quite good, and the scenery very beautiful. The Austrian countryside is tidy and well kempt. Because there are so many of us (approximately 82) and we have instruments we need to transport, plus risers and programs, we have two coaches and one trailer. We are supposed to stay on the same coach throughout the trip so that it is easier for the couriers to make sure all the people are accounted for. Our bus is driven by Gunther, who doesn’t speak much English (probably about as much as we speak German) and our courier is Tassos (nickname) who is Greek, but speaks English, French, German, Italian and who knows what other languages. Tassos is an aspiring opera director. Having a guide who appreciates and knows music is very helpful. He tells us that last night’s performance was very good, but that we really didn’t loosen up until the end. He encourages us to be a little livelier tonight. The other courier is Jennifer, an English woman who also speaks several languages and has led many tours before this.
One of the tour buses, complete with trailer
We are supposed to have lunch en route to Salzburg. We get to Salzburg about 2:30, unload and check in (a bit of a fire drill – the hotel is a combination of two buildings across the street from each other and we are initially directed to the wrong building.) The hotel isn’t nearly as nice as the one in Vienna. The room is smaller and ours faces a major street, so there is a fair bit of traffic.
After we check in, we are taken to Bergheim for lunch – it is in an inn and we have the entire room. There is a soup, schnitzel and potatoes and apple strudel. It is a much better meal than we had in Vienna.
After lunch, we are taken to our venue – a small parish church perched on a hill overlooking the little town. It is a beautiful building in the traditional style of the area with an ‘onion dome’ on the tower. The interior is baroque, with lots of statues and gilt. The acoustics are great – we have been invited to sing the Mass with the congregation. This is a challenge since the hymns are in German. The service music is in Latin, so that is easy.
We have about an hour to warm up, and then change into our performance dress. The service goes very well, then it is time to perform. The concert begins about 8:00 p.m. and the room is a bit warm already. Tonight we sing as if we are inspired! This is the best performance we have given yet. Richard is ecstatic! Tassos is fun to watch – he closes his eyes and is visibly transported by the sound. The audience is very appreciative. Most of the people in the audience do not speak English, so between each piece Richard introduces the piece to follow, which Jennifer translates for the audience. At the end of the performance, the priest thanks us profusely in German (which Jennifer translates) and wishes Richard the opportunity to compose many more pieces. We enthusiastically second that, as Richard’s compositions are such a joy to sing and so beautiful.
The parish church of Bergheim where we performed our second concert - note how lovingly tended the graveyard is
After the performance, several of the people in the audience stop to chat – fortunately Deborah Anderson speaks German and is able to chat with them. The priest comes aboard our bus just before we depart and tells us how much he appreciates our music. Deborah translates for him. He gives her a kiss on the cheek which he tells her is for all of us.
We return to the hotel and go to a nearby Chinese restaurant – we do not want a heavy meal. Tom and I have fried rice. Suzanne Montgomery joins us – she is headed to the Czech Republic after the tour, where she will lead a class in conducting. What a wonderful opportunity.
July 21, 2002 – Sunday – Salzburg
The weather is once again warm and muggy. We have a guided walking tour of Salzburg as part of our tour. Salzburg was ruled by Archbishops for many years and has a lot of churches. The Salzburg Festival was begun in the 1920’s. There are many performing venues, one with a stage larger than a football field. We go to Mozart’s birthplace, but it is crowded and hot, so Tom and I don’t want to stick around there too long. The tour ends at the Mirabelle Gardens, which are outside the residence that one of the Archbishops built. The gardens are beautiful – they change the flowers twice a year so that they look nice most of the year.
After the tour, Tom and I have lunch at an outdoor café. The wind comes up, blowing the menus off the table. However, the temperature is very pleasant. I have a bread salad, which is quite good and Tom has bratwurst and potatoes. Afterward, we go to the TI and get a list of restaurants, then go over to the Cathedral. The last time we were in Salzburg the Cathedral was undergoing refurbishment. It has been beautifully restored. Inside there are risers set up for a choir, and one of the four organ lofts has timpani next to the organ – all it needs is a harp and the xylophone and glockenspiel, oboe and US and we could do a concert here.
We look at a couple of restaurants – Stifts St. Peter’s has been a restaurant for 1000 years, but is very expensive. We also look at a wine hall, but by this time we are very tired of German food. We decide that we are going to have dinner at an Italian restaurant called La Stella, which the Henricksons tell us was very good.
We walk back to the hotel for a rest. My stomach has been a bit off – I think the food is too heavy and I don’t feel all that great. The rest does us good – I feel a lot better, so we head into town to go to an Internet bordello. Then we go to the restaurant. We are caught by surprise in a very heavy downpour – even so, we decide to eat outside because there are plenty of umbrellas to shelter us from the rain. I have a bowl of minestrone and pasta carbonara and Tom has tortellini.