Category Archives: Woodwinds

A Run-Out to Brazil

Well, this trip unexpectedly turned into quite the adventure! Clarinet Professor Wesley Ferreira and I left Colorado on Sunday, June 25, to head to Natal, Brazil for the 2017 International Horn Symposium, held at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). This is the largest single French horn event in the entire world each year, and receiving an invite to perform at it is highly competitive. I have been lucky, though, because I work with such terrific musicians and colleagues!

Wesley and I discussed the possibility of going to the symposium back in the fall of 2016 with an idea for a new piece for horn, clarinet, and piano. We brought the request to our composer at CSU, Jim David, who was very excited and set to work on it right away. The result is what Wesley and I believe will be a fabulous addition to the repetoire, Batuque. The two-movement piece is based on traditional Brazilian folk music, with the 1st movement being lyrical in nature and the 2nd movement being highly rhythmic and percussive.

Our flight from Denver to Atlanta went well, as did our flight from Atlanta to Sao Paolo. However, once we got to Sao Paolo things started to go a bit awry. We ended up missing our last flight to Natal and were delayed by an extra 12 hours! This turned our 24 hour travel day into a 36 hour travel day, and needless to say, we were both fairly tired when we finally got to our hotel at 1:30 in the morning on Tuesday.

With as long as that day was, the five hours of sleep that we were able to get seemed to fly by as we had to get up early on Tuesday in order to rehearse with our accompanist for our performance. But, no matter how tired we were, being in an exotic location, as well as having the opportunity to premiere a really terrific piece, gave us all the energy we needed. That, combined with some really strong Brazilian coffee!

Our performance was on Thursday at noon and it couldn’t have gone better! The hall was packed and the audience was incredibly receptive and genuinely excited after hearing Jim’s wonderful piece! We had numerous people come up to us afterwards, asking how they could to get a copy of Batuque. So, Jim, you may be having to answer a lot of emails from excited horn players!

Another thing that I would like to mention about this symposium, as well as almost all of the others I have been to over the course of my career, is just how thoroughly excited and inspired I usually find myself immediately after the event is over. And this symposium did not disappoint! Any time you get to hear some of the truly elite players in the horn world is a wonderful thing. One concert in particular stood out to us. The Wednesday evening concert featured such horn luminaries as Jeff Nelsen, Frank Lloyd, Abel Pereira, Kristina Mascher-Turner, and Marie-Louise Neunecker. This one program included both Richard Strauss horn concerti as well as Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns and Orchestra. The world-class horn playing left Wesley and me speechless! Any of you horn players out there know just how massive this program was, and after all that wonderful horn playing, the orchestra closed the concert with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture! I can’t wait to get home and practice my own horn!

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not make special mention of my colleague Wesley Ferreira. Not only was this a thoroughly enjoyable artistic experience with him, but it is refreshing to see all of his hard work and dedication to his craft pay off, especially in a foreign land. When the faculty at UFRN heard that he was going to be in Natal, they immediately contacted him and asked him to do a master class at the University. Word on the street here is that he is quite well-known in Brazil…even though he has never been here! His master class was both engaging and entertaining, and the students clearly learned a lot from him. What clarinet player goes to a horn symposium and steals the show?! I’ll tell you who – my colleague, Wes Ferreira!

Next year’s International Horn Symposium will be held at Ball State University In Muncie, Indiana. It will be the 50th annual IHS. Maybe I will see you there!


The 21st Century Clarinet, A Review

Neuss with Bass Clarinet. Photo by her sister, Ilysa Mitofsky

Neuss with Bass Clarinet. Photo by her sister, Ilysa Mitofsky.

Rising champion of the contemporary clarinet, Lara Mitofsky Neuss presented an innovative and engaging evening of new music in San Francisco on 16 May. This recital was performed live to an enthusiastic audience in the Osher Salon at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and was also livestreamed online.

Lara, who graduated from the conservatory in May with a Bachelor of Music, will attend Colorado State University this fall, studying for her Master of Music in performance. Her decision to select CSU was a result of her participation in Dr. Wesley Ferreira’s inaugural LIFT Clarinet Academy in the summer of 2014.

The concert program included solely pieces written in the last ten years, a daring choice which was carried out with great success.

This boldness was showcased from the outset, with Nico Muhly’s It Goes Without Saying for clarinet and electronics. Lara immediately demonstrated impressive technical control and the strong rhythmic integrity inherently necessary for a performance with electronics, especially in a piece with such tight dialogue between the track and the soloist.

Lara was then joined by pianist Keisuke Nakagoshi to perform As Desperation Sets In. This was a committed performance from both players, conveying the ‘desperation’ of the title and a sense of haunting or lamenting something of the past. Particularly notable was Lara’s clear enjoyment of the piece itself, inviting the audience to similarly be in the moment and experience the clever interplay of pianist and soloist, and the intricacy of shifting rhythmic patterns. Lush melodies soared over the piano’s harmonic accompaniment and a more agitated, faster section added intensity and drive to the work. The first instance of extended technique in the recital, microtones in the melodic line, was also expertly handled.

The next piece (Alasdair Maclean, Without Further Ado II) featured driving rhythmic energy from the piano behind trumpet-like fanfare statements and punctuating rhythms from conversing clarinets. This was likely only the second time this arrangement for two clarinets has been presented publically and the performance was energetic and well-matched between the soloists.

The second half of the program gave the audience the chance to hear Lara’s prowess on the bass clarinet, equal if not surpassing in technical mastery and fluidity of sound. Her bass playing was first showcased in Michael Lowenstern’s Trip for bass clarinet and electronics. This was a highly enjoyable piece, more lighthearted in spirit but certainly not lacking in depth. Lara spun off jazzy passages effortlessly and with great pizazz, interacting seamlessly with the electronics.

The world premiere of Homer Collyer Blind (Kyle Hovatter) followed, featuring Lara on bass clarinet alongside bassoonist Justin Cummings. Beginning with an ostinato like pattern in the bassoon, the piece evoked a minimalist quality with contrapuntal figures between bassoon and clarinet. The players interacted brilliantly with deep concern for every element of the piece to come across as the composer intended. The writing demanded a wide contrast of dynamics and colors from both instruments, ranging from somber lyricism at the start to mysterious agitation in the third section.

The next piece by the same composer (Entrance) stayed true to his established musical landscape of canon-type dialogue between instruments, sharp interjections, and ostinato patterns, this time with the addition of oboist Kai-Fung Lee. The trio navigated the audience through rhythmic intrigue and surprising turns of tempo with sincerity and ease.

An arrangement of When She Walks (Hauschka) for clarinet and background track concluded the program wonderfully. The effect of a soloist over recorded background clarinets was effective and interesting, offering a unique texture than if it had been performed in the original clarinet ensemble setting. As in each piece of the recital, Lara performed with great conviction, giving a rich and centered sound in whatever context required.

Lara invited the audience into a new soundscape with clarity and humor throughout, making the music approachable for even those unfamiliar to the clarinet. She is an infectiously spirited performer who brought an unhindered passion for the music in every moment. Composers of this century certainly have a friend in Ms. Neuss.

emily kerski.headshot_web ~ submitted by Emily Kerski, Music Performance Major, Senior


ClarinetFest 2014: Reflections

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I can’t imagine anything better than spending a week surrounded by top professionals in my field, soaking up their wisdom, hearing unforgettable performances, all the while taking it in alongside my best friends. Indeed, it was a dream come true to attend ClarinetFest 2014 this summer in Baton Rouge, La., with my ensemble, Quartet Atrevido!

I first attended ClarinetFest two years ago in Lincoln, Neb., and ever since, it was a goal to perform there myself, although I never thought it would be as soon as two years later! Collaborating with Quartet Atrevido (QA) at CSU has been a transformational experience for my growth, both personally and professionally. The opportunity to perform with QA at the conference was a remarkable capstone to our journey together. It was wonderful to share in their first ClarinetFest experience, and I was very glad they enjoyed it as much as I did!

Networking is absolutely vital in the music industry, and the gathering of so many artists and teachers at ClarinetFest makes it an ideal place to make connections. I have been working intentionally for several years to expand my professional network, and was thrilled to recognize and know quite a few people present – one in nearly every room I was in! I met many new people and also reconnected with former colleagues, teachers, and fellow International Clarinet Association members I had met in conferences past. It’s hard to explain the sheer excitement of having so many clarinet players in one place!

The lectures on entrepreneurship and diversifying one’s career were undoubtedly useful, especially right after QA had organized a chamber music concert, something we were all highly encouraged to do at the conference. Hearing how other artists create their careers and gain audiences gave me many ideas as I craft my own future. As an educator, I appreciated learning from the expertise of renowned pedagogues and attending an enlightening panel discussion on “Teaching Entrepreneurship to Students.” As a student of the clarinet, I was amazed by the opportunity to perform in a masterclass for Jacques Merrer, a French clarinetist who has incredible passion for the integrity of the music. I worked with him on Introduction et Rondo by Charles-Marie Widor. It was a rare chance to perform a French piece for a French player, and I learned much about how to play in the French style.

Attending recitals expanded my knowledge of the clarinet repertoire immensely. I was able to hear several world premieres, as well as the clarinet in new settings – clarinet with voice, with traditional Japanese shakuhachi, with electronics, and even accompanied by Beatles music. I also was moved to tears by the performances of some of my favorite pieces, especially the Mozart Clarinet Quintet, Poulenc’s Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, and Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet. It’s an incredible experience to see your musical heroes perform live and in person. The conference offered no shortage of these moments, featuring performance by artists I’ve admired for as long as I can remember: Stanley Drucker, Jon Manasse, Deborah Chodacki, and others. It’s also excellent to be exposed to new artists.

Taking the international stage with QA was a career highlight, and I am very grateful to all of our sponsors and our teacher, Wesley Ferreira, for their tremendous support. The entire experience was a beneficial lesson in being a professional musician in the 21st century – from auditioning, to preparing, raising donors and funds, organizing our send-off concert, planning our trip, to finally performing. And the opportunity to collaborate on stage with my favorite colleagues was a complete and total joy!

emily kerski.headshot_web ~ contributed by Emily Kerski, Music Performance, ’16

A student’s look back…look ahead.

On the train ride from Salzburg, Austria to Sopron, Hungary, I sat down with one of the CSU Faculty Chamber Winds’ oboists, CSU alumni Shane Werts (’13, Music Ed), to talk about the past year, the tour, and his future as a musician.

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Shane Werts performs with the ensemble at the MidEurope Music Festival.

Shane spent the 2013-14 school year teaching band and choir at Gypsum Creek Middle School in Eagle County, Colo., and really enjoyed the experience. “I grew a lot last year – being in front of 40 kids everyday pushed my maturity and leadership. Even teaching middle school concepts, my musicianship increased through demonstrations on my instrument, and daily practice after school.”

During his time in Gypsum, Shane knew that he wanted to continue his studies, this time in oboe performance. In Jan. and Feb. of 2014, he auditioned at Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and University of Iowa.

During our conversation, Shane reflected on the audition process, noting that some schools had a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, while others were much more intense. “A few schools had ‘stress free’ zones with coloring books and conversation between those auditioning, while others required complete silence.”

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The ensemble performing the festival’s opening concert.

Shane challenged himself to keep nerves in check, especially the weekend he had three auditions – Rochester, Cincinnati, and Cleveland – in a row.

It is apparent that this delightful and unassuming CSU grad kept it together as incredibly, he was accepted to all five schools, ultimately selecting Indiana for his Master’s in Oboe Performance. “In the end, after considering the teachers and financials, the feel of the audition experience really influenced my decision.”

Prior to the CSU Faculty Chamber Winds’ tour, Shane had not been out of the country and jumped at the chance to play. “The trip has been awesome! Everyone on this tour are people I look up to, and I had really enjoyed playing with the ensemble on the Mozart and Rossini pieces during my senior year.” “It’s an honor to be here,” he added.

Additionally, Shane recognized that master’s students are expected to be productive during the summer. “Everyone seems to be at summer festivals, and I’m playing on a tour in Europe, it’s important.”

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Starting with his decision to major in Music Ed, people associated with CSU were an important influence. “In high school, I didn’t have a clue, I was pretty lost, but I really respected my first private teacher and my high school teacher. Erik Johnson (now Assistant Professor of Music Education at CSU) was always so happy and that inspired me. John Hermanson (CSU ’08, Master of Music, Conducting/Music Education) really helped me figure out where to go.”

Lessons prompted by experiences at Colorado State University are prominent in Shane’s story. “At CSU, I learned that it is important to be a humble person because everyone starts somewhere. I never made an all-state band or orchestra in high school, and seeing [fellow student] Tony Fredrico accepted to the navy band was motivating because Tony didn’t even start playing until high school. I also remember being at the national double reed convention and saying to Dr. Moody (professor of double reeds and theory), ‘Those people all play better than me, but I can do better than that.’ It became an indicator of what to strive for.”

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The CSU Faculty Chamber Winds delight crowds at Mirabell Garden in Salzburg.

Looking ahead to life at Indiana University, Shane expects a big department to be very different. “I’ve heard it is competitive, although the oboe teacher fosters a friendly studio environment.”

After talking to Shane, I have no doubt that this CSU grad will succeed, even flourish, at the graduate level. He mentioned that through multiple summer jobs, he’s always paid for his own instruments and equipment. This past summer he bought a car, a gouger (the most expensive oboe tool which thins tube cane, the first step in making reeds), and saved enough rent for the entire next year.

“I’ve enjoyed working with Shane,” chimed in Gary Moody, who had been quietly listening to our conversation. “He was one of those students who came in every week sounding better, which you can’t always say about every student.”

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Shane as saxophone section leader in the CSU Marching Band.

Shane’s reaction to his CSU experience is very positive. “I learned how to teach, became proficient on my instrument, had many performance opportunities, and was tenor saxophone section leader in Marching Band. And at CSU, Dr. Moody is where it is at,” Shane enthused about his teacher.

“CSU is a great place to start and grow, and it is getting even better. I would go there again for sure…if I had to do it again, I would choose CSU, hands down!”

Best wishes Shane!

~ posted by Jennifer Clary

Two tales of one city.

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On Thursday, July 17, the ensemble performed their final concert of the tour as part of the Staromestský Letný Festival, in the city of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The festival, in the Zichy Palace courtyard, and other venues around the quaint and popular Old Town, featured artists from Slovakia and abroad.

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The ensemble’s time in Bratislava, a city of half a million on the Danube river, was brief, with only a couple hours for sightseeing before dinner and the concert, but we certainly enjoyed what we saw in the Old Town district.

As the final concert of the tour, this night was especially poignant. Each piece in the repertoire has been embedded in the minds and hearts of the ensemble members, and this blogger could feel the collective absorption of each phrase, as if the performance was as much for the players as the audience.

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By the River by Aaron Copeland

Shall we gather by the river,
Where bright angels’ feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God.
Yes, we’ll gather by the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river.

Gather with the saints by the river
That flows by the throne of God.
Soon we’ll reach the shining river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease,
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.

As baritone John Seesholtz tenderly, yet powerfully, sang the final stanza of “By the River,” our summer pilgrimage felt complete, our own melody of peace proclaimed by exploring of the core and edges of both our music and Europe. How fitting to play here, on the Danube river.

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Following the concert, another impacting moment occurred at the Camel Pub, one of dozens of packed Old Town bistros. The group will forever remember our waiter, Tomas (pronounced Tomash), the punk-band lead singer from Galánta, Slovakia.

Finding out that we were classical musicians, he asked if we knew of Zoltan Kodály, to which Copper Ferreira exclaimed that Dances of Galánta was well-known by the ensemble.

Tomas was truly exuberant, taking out his phone to show us the view from his bedroom window in his home town, Galánta, of Kodály’s disrepaired castle. “I am touched that you are here and know of Kodály, and my home,” our endearing waiter enthused. Since the Kodály method is an intricate component of Colorado State University’s elementary Music Ed Program, the special moment was not lost on us.

Driving Directions from Galanta, undefined to Bratislava, undefi

Tomas travels about 35 miles into Bratislava to wait tables, but is not as enthusiastic about the city as we were from our limited exposure. “You’ve only seen the part they want you, the tourists, to see,” he stated. “It’s not always a nice place.”

This seemed in direct conflict with the opinion of this blogger’s friend, who lives in Vienna and often spends long weekends in Bratislava, his “favorite place, next to Vienna.” “It’s such an up-and-coming city, so chill – it’s wonderful to just hang out in the park by the river,” my friend had told me.

As the bistro was closing for the evening, Tomas delivered some take-away wisdom as he claimed, “Americans live to work, Slovokians work to live…” I think it’s safe to say that we’d all live for the chance to come back to Bratislava and find out more about this slightly exotic city for ourselves. Thanks, Tomas!

Click here to see more photos of the concert and Bratislava.

~ posted by Jennifer Clary

The town of loyalty and freedom.

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Roman ruins, Sopron, Hungary.

Originally a trade route town on the Roman Amber Road, Sopron is a small town of significance near the Austrian border, featuring a center square with medieval and Gothic architecture, interwoven with 1st and 2nd Century Roman roads and ruins.

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Monument honoring Jewish citizens, captured and taken to Auschwitz in 1944.

After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, instead of joining Austria, in 1921 Sopron voted to remain part of Hungary and is thus referred to as Hungary’s ‘most faithful city.’ During WWII, Sopron lost all its Jewish citizens, was bombed, and, in 1945, was captured by the Red Army; during the Cold War, Socialists attempted to industrialize the city. In 1989 the Pan-European Picnic, a demonstration which led to the fall of the Iron Curtain and German reunification, took place near Sopron.

With the surviving medieval architecture and Roman ruins, its productive vineyards and excellent red wine, Kékfrankos, the area is now benefiting from tourism. On a different note, because of the numerous, low-cost dental clinics, Hungary, including Sopron, is also a dental-care destination.

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Sopron’s elegant architecture – with its ornate reliefs, projecting cornices, and colorful facades – once reveling in grandeur and prominence, are now worn and threadbare, interspersed with unflattering cement memories. Its stateliness is saturated with heartbreak, tragedy, and suppression. Are pockets of construction the sights and sounds of hope, or will tolling bells continue to reverberate the heavy spirit of oppression and sorrow?

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This blogger was captured by the beauty of the Alps, the charm of Salzburg, and the magnificence of Vienna, yet Sopron shoves everything it has endured right in your face, a “take-away” level reminder that travel through Europe is not always about accessibly enjoyable palaces, beer gardens, and Alpine lodges. My world view and knowledge was broadened by our mere 17 hours here.

Click here to see more photos of Sopron.

~ posted by Jennifer Clary

 

Music throughout time.

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Goat Church, Sopron, Hungary.

We spent our last 24 hours in Sopron, Hungary. It is a fascinating city that has felt the most “foreign” of all our recent stops. The city center consists variously of 9th-century Roman ruins, 11th-century medieval walls, and 17th-century Baroque towers and cathedrals. Our first experience in a former Soviet bloc country, we all felt the long shadow cast by the distantly-fallen Iron Curtain. We walked a bit over a mile from our hotel to our performance venue, and along the way I felt a strange sense of familiarity to the rough edges of the city. I came to realize that this industrial city has the look and feel of the Rust Belt cities in the US where I have lived and worked: Detroit, Mich.; Rochester, NY; Cleveland, Ohio; and Milwaukee, Wisc.; among many others.

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CSU Faculty Chamber Winds at the Ligneum Sopron.

Our performance was at a gorgeous new building surrounded by a deciduous forest at the Lingeum Sopron. The glass-walled structure had an airy, open feel, and was filled with the results of engineering projects from the University of Western Hungary. We performed for a warm audience in an intimate space on the second floor amidst motorbikes, modern couches, wooden toys, and models of energy-saving homes. A truly unique venue, we all concurred. Post-concert, our gracious hosts feted us with traditional Hungarian fare in a classic setting amidst the woods and buildings of the research facility.

One of my contributions to this tour has been my orchestration of Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs” to feature our baritone, Dr. John Seesholtz. Originally for voice and piano, I found great pleasure in seeking a “Coplandesque” shimmer from our unusual combination of woodwinds and brass.

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Baritone, John Seesholtz.

Although I had the sounds and instrument combinations in my head, it has been a thrill to hear the songs come to life in every venue since a clarinet note here or a brass pairing there appear in different lights depending on the physical space. The compact concert location in Sopron illuminated the brass for me in particular since I was placed directly behind the three horns as opposed to behind the bassoons as I usually am. From that new vantage point, I reveled most in Copland’s brilliant re-harmonization of the old hymn tune “At the River.” I set the introduction and the first verse for three horns, trombone, and solo trumpet, and for the first time since we began playing these songs I felt “inside” Copland’s harmony and my own creation. Combined with John’s lush baritone and (per his request), the darker key of D-flat major, the experience raised every hair on the back of my neck.

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Christopher Van Hof performing at Mirabell Garden, Salzburg, Austria.

That has been the wonder of this journey for me: once the trains, languages, short nights, quick meals, and all other facets of international travel are set to the side, the opportunity for me to participate–however obliquely–in the ongoing unfolding of music throughout time proves to consistently inspire. It is why I studied music and why I find such deep satisfaction performing and writing, especially with my friends and colleagues.

Click here to see more photos from Sopron.

~ contributed by Chris Van Hof, DMA, Assistant Professor of Trombone and Euphonium

Aufessen!

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Pork knuckle, potato salad, sauerkraut, and mustard meal at the Augustiner, Salzburg.

We all travel for the food, right! Socially, economically, creatively, food is at the heart of any culture, and the group has completely embraced the experience.

‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ is a true adage here, and with all the walking, due diligence is required. There is a consistent breakfast buffet menu across Europe of bread, yogurt, sliced meet and cheese, boiled eggs, pots of apricot, blackberry, and strawberry jam, Nutella, an oatmeal bar with figs, prunes, and dried apricots, and most different for Americans, fresh veggies: peppers, tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers.

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Our bed and breakfast style accommodations in Schladming, Austria were certainly the most special, with our gracious inn-keeper bringing soft-boiled eggs and pots of strong coffee directly to our tables.

Lunch has usually been taken at markets, from street vendors, or by popping into the grocery store. Dinners, usually eaten late, and by carful selection, are a time to sit as a group and reflect on our performances and adventures.

While on the train to Bratislava this morning, the travel reflection was on food.

Richard Frey – I like that things are less salty and less sweet here. I’ve eaten enough unknown, sliced, ground, knuckled, and hooved pig for a while. None of us realized how many different “snausages” there actually are!

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Sausage counter at Dallmayr Delicatessen, Munich, Germany.

Michelle Stanley – I’d give anything for a huge kale salad, and Richard said he’d give me his too. Although I’m tired of pork product, I have enjoyed trying all the new bratwurst. I’m also happy that the beer is not hoppy. One of my favorite things was the breakfast in Schladming with the special grinder for steel-cut oats. It was a total novelty, and I really want one for my home.

John Seesholtz – I loved the street food…all the sausages and cheeses, and the diversity within the genres, especially the offerings in the farmers market. There were the red currant berries that we don’t have in white, bright and dark red. I’ve enjoyed trying something so regional and seasonal.

Andrew Jacobson – I really enjoy the drinkability of the beer and since water is so expensive, it is a great replacement because of the high quality and low alcohol content. I could continue eating like this forever, so it is probably good that we are leaving in a few days. All of the walking helps counterbalance the increased intake of ice cream and helps digest the extra carbs from the bread and potatoes.

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Chris Van Hof doesn’t want to eat here – Bratislava, Slovakia.

Chris Van Hof (vegan) – I haven’t eaten a lot of the local food, which is all meat and cream, and doesn’t look appetizing or appealing. What I’ve noticed is that when I find a place where I can get a big, full, hot meal, it feels more special than at home. I’ve had a lot of fruit and brought cliff bars from home, so I’ve managed. What I’ve found humorous is that in restaurants, fish is the standard vegetarian option.

Wesley Ferreira – I’ve had great food and the best was from the street vendor in Schladming during the Lange Nacht – the long roll with two wieners, mustard, and onions – it was the most authentic meal. I’m a bread connoiseur, and it was warm and soft inside and perfectly flaky outside. It was the best! I also enjoyed the breakfast in Schladming with the soft boiled egg; the service was so civilized with the egg cup and the little spoon. I always felt like the inn-keeper was thinking “you are a good man for eating this egg!” It became a thing between us each morning, and for me, a take-away.

Copper Ferreira – If the “way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” then in Hungary I would never have found a husband, and would be single forever! But the rest has been good. I have used so many fine dishes, and there are more sizes of spoons than I’ve ever seen: Cappuccino spoons, egg spoons, yogurt spoons, slotted spoons – such a huge array of utensils. It’s like using my grandmother’s china every day!

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A good place to stop.

Gary Moody – Beer, bread, brats, and too much of it. I’ve enjoyed the adventure where you have no idea what you’re getting – some regrettable and some absolutely delightful! It’s sad when you find something you like and then have to leave it. Restaurants might be touristy, so I like going to the grocery store and seeing what the locals buy, and their habits, and pick from their unidentifiable items. I usually ate at groceries for lunch, or found an inviting place while riding my bike.

Steve Marx – I was a good chance to explore the delicacies. There are many different bratwurst from German, to Austrian, to Hungarian, comparable to regional BBQ in U.S. They do fat, protein, and salt very well! Sometimes you don’t know what you’re eating – that is a positive thing – so don’t bring any expectations because that is detrimental to the experience. I love the open-air markets, especially all the cheeses, but the first place I’m going is when I get back is 5 Guys!

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Jenn Clary Jacobs – Since veggies are my favorite food, I get my fill at breakfast because they become scarce the rest of the day. I’m also a gluten free girl, so with the emphasis on baked goods, from pretzels to pastry, amazing smelling thin-crust pizza, and breaded items such as Schnitzel, this trip has been a challenge. I quickly gave up asking for gluten free because the reference was lost on everyone! So far, my favorite meals were the roasted liver and potatoes in Schladming, and the aged salami and salty aged Gouda from the outdoor market in Salzburg. And the coffee…

Tom Bittinger – I especially liked the availability of ice cream or gelato on every corner. I haven’t had a bad meal and liked all of it!

Selena Adams – I love all of it! My favorite thing is the prevalence of local bakeries, shops, cheese, and soup. Everything is super fresh, made by that family, that day, and affordable. I love that about Europe! I also love the coffee and the way drinking it is an afternoon event, like British teatime. My favorite thing was the Kasewurst – cheese sausage with the cheese melting out of it. So good!

Travis Howell – There is a variety of expense levels from something quick at a stand, like a brat, or very nice – as nice as you want – in every city. Overall, it’s been great. I also appreciate the lunch beer culture.

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Sierra Hayden enjoys the apple strudel with vanilla sauce.

Robert Bonner – The food culture is a lot slower here. Everyone takes more time socially. Whereas Americans seem to eat and run, here they actually relax during meals. They also take their desserts seriously! I even had apple strudel, with vanilla sauce, at a stone restaurant on Dachstein glacier (accessible by foot). For all that, I can’t wait to have an IPA and a bacon cheeseburger!

Shane Werts – Portions are smaller, but heartier. I loved the red wine cake at the restaurant at the top of Planai Mountain, only accessible on the Gondola. There’s a lot of meat here, which makes me really want some crispy lettuce! The apricot and blackberry jam were amazing! I will miss the schnitzel.

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Sierra Hayden – The food is heartier than in Colorado, but I never felt tired – maybe it was all the walking. The fruit is riper and so delicious. The water situation is hard because it isn’t free with meals, and so much of the water you order is sparkling, not “still.” The unpasteurized cheese is so great, but I can’t wait to have a huge salad!

Eat up, all!

From here to there.

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Our travels have taken the ensemble by plane, from Denver to Iceland to Munich, around Europe by train, both within the cities and between, put a lot of miles on our walking shoes, and even provided some train station practice time.

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Getting the group of 18 from point A to point B, via public transportation, has been a remarkably successful experience with just a few close mishaps like Shane sleeping on the second level and nearly not getting off, barely getting the luggage on and off before hearing the whistle blow, and a couple of frantic scurries back on to grab forgotten bags and phones, but all has ended well. Since we are traveling to Sopron, Hungary today, everyone gave quick reflections about the travel aspect of this tour.

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Wesley Ferriera – When I think about going on a tour, I think about the traveling part. It’s been easy, nice to have those quiet moments, watching people read, and reflect, and look out the window.

Copper Ferriera – Trains are the way to go! Travel by train is the best and easiest way to go…as long as you have wheels on your luggage and guys to help lift it!

Robert Bonner – It’s my first time being on a train and it’s much less of a headache than getting on an airplane. I wish I could take a train across the U.S. to N.Y., like you can do from Munich to Berlin.

Michelle Stanley – Pack smart and face forward [as opposed to the backwards seats]. Traveling with 18 people is not as bad as you think!

Steve Marx – It’s been great to see the regional aspects of moving between countries on different trains. Even what is offered in the restaurant cars changes every few hundred miles.

Shane Werts – It’s been a great way to get to know people better. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the professors on a more personal level…everything from knick names to the ins and outs of sunglasses.

Tom Bittinger – I love the train system. Very efficient!

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Travis Howell (pictured) – The hours between cities are nice because you have a chance to relax, get off your feet, and reflect on all the great things we’ve been doing. I like the moment where you’re finally not rushed and just have time to think.

John Seesholtz – Travel has been fun, and for 18 people, we’ve been doing well staying together. It also provides time to separate, to sit, and be quiet. Tours can be social overload and the travel portion is my alone time.

Jenn Clary – I love watching the scenery go by and taking it all in. The train is very relaxing and soothing; it feels like a rocking cradle. There are very few escalators or elevators, so be prepared to lug a 20 kg suitcase up and down an immense number of stairs – Michelle and I are getting some biceps!

John McGuire – Transportation in Europe is very liberating because you don’t need a car. You don’t have to be responsible for a vehicle, you just get on a train and forget about everything for a while.

Liz McGuire – I appreciate walking more. I’ve enjoyed living in larger cities where it is easy to get around. I travel to Cheyenne for work and wish I could commute on a train. It’s what I miss!

Gary Moody – I love the fact that we left the hotel at 8:15 a.m. to catch a 9 a.m. train (walking). You don’t have to go through security and it left exactly on time. It’s easy when you can count on it happening, and not getting delayed!

Chris Van Hof – I like seeing the dirty underbelly of the famous classical music cities. When I’m traveling around, I’m anxious to arrive in time to Skype with my family and to practice. That’s what is always on my mind.

Sierra Hayden – The trains are efficient, but traveling in a group isn’t always so. I really enjoy having time to read, catch up on emails, and enjoy the views!

Richard Frey – there should be high-speed rail lines everywhere in the U.S. Being here always reminds me how strongly I feel about this! I would jump down to the Springs or up to Cheyenne if it simply meant hoping on and going.

Selena Adams – I love trains and enjoy seeing the different kinds. Riding the city bus in Salzburg was an easy navigation experience. I wish there was a train from Cheyenne to Colorado Springs!

Andrew Jacobson– For me, the train is a time to catch up on my sleep and relaxation.

~ posted by Jennifer Clary