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2018 choir trip to Austria and Slovakia

Day 5 – Performing at the Church from “The Sound of Music” Movie

Today was perhaps the most challenging travel day that we’ve encountered thus far on this tour. We had to leave early to go back to Salzburg, Austria and before checking into our hotel, tour an abbey and give a concert. And while on the surface this would seem like quite the adventure and more great experiences, anyone who has ever toured on the road for more than a couple of days straight, living out of a suitcase and working back-to-back gigs, would know the entire process is very taxing. We can only imagine what the touring life of a professional performer must be like!

While on this tour, we’ve come to learn a lot about regional foods and their uniqueness. For example, in Slovakia, they are known for their bread, which is stuffed with walnuts. Back home in the states, no one would ever think of stuffing bread with walnuts, but actually, it was very tasty, especially with a little natural sugar added.

On the way to Salzburg, we stopped to tour a beautiful Benedictine Abbey located next to the Danube River in a town called Melk in Austria. The abbey was founded in 1089 with an extensive library of more than one hundred thousand books that is still in use today. In addition to touring the building, the purpose of our visit was to sing in the abbey’s sanctuary, known for its world-famous acoustics. However, due to a wedding that was taking place while we were there, we had to forego the informal singing experience and that was perfectly fine by all.

We then travelled to Mondsee, Austria. And while many may not know this Austrian town by name, they are probably certain to know it by sight. It owns the distinction of being the home to the world’s most photographed church – the Parish Church at Mondsee, where the wedding in the movie “The Sound of Music” took place. For those of us of a certain age, The Sound of music was such a part of our culture and it would have considered such a privilege to visit the church from the movie.

Given that the movie was released in 1965, most of today’s youth have probably never seen it, let alone heard of it. However, if you are a musician, you are more than likely to be familiar with the movie because of the ear-training song- Do-re-mi. To ensure that our students could get the most out of our visit and concert in the Mondsee church, we played “The Sound of Music” movie on the bus. This made everyone ripe for the experience of visiting this iconic landmark, not only in Austrian culture but even American culture.

As it was in Bratislava, we were the choir performing for the mass in Mondsee. This time, the service was in German, as opposed to the Slovak language, and we would play a much bigger roll in this service. For example, for the Kyrie section of the mass, we sang our Kyrie from the Gospel mass. For the Gloria section of the mass, we sang our Gloria. Even the priest was seen clapping his hands when we sang our spirited versions of our Gospel Mass during the service.

Despite the choir not using microphones during the performance, the acoustics were phenomenal. Even the soloists sounded like they were using microphones because the acoustics made everything sound so great, so you imagine what the collective powerful voices of the Morgan choir must have sounded like in this venue.

After another successful concert, we had a group dinner, with one noticeable difference this time – no bread with the meal. Until now, throughout this European trip, during every meal (with the exception breakfast) we were served bread. In place of the customary bread were potatoes served as our meal’s appetizer. There was a potato soup, without broth as well as potatoes with our salad. Everyone agreed that the salad with potatoes was extremely flavorful. It became apparent, that potato was the region’s starch of choice.

Following dinner and after a 30-minute drive, we checked into our Salzburg hotel around 10:45 PM. The next day, we would have to get up early, and because it was Sunday, we would of course have to attend Mass.

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Performance at Mondsee Church – Be Still and Know that I am God

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