We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Austrian Alps, were honored to perform many times throughout the festival, and met so many wonderful people.
On Thursday, July 10, the ensemble performed an early evening, outdoor concert in the same location, where earlier in the week, we had watched Germany demolish Brazil 7 – 1 in the World Cup. Best moments from that performance had to have been the reprise of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes” with Chris Van Hof’s kazoo solo, little kids dancing with abandon alongside adults who really knew what they were doing, and noticing that we had some true fans who were showing up at all of our concerts.
We especially enjoyed meeting the delightful Mats Persson, a trombonist and high school music teacher from Sweden, who was attending the festival on his personal holiday. In addition to our concerts, we saw Mats at the top of Dachstein Glacier, at Lange Nacht, the “long night” street festival featuring the traditional, regional bands, and at the Tattoo, a display of all the marching bands. Connections like these greatly enhance the travel experience, and were possible through staying in one location for an extended time.
On Saturday, July 11, the sun was doing its best to break through the clouds that have socked us in the last few days. The group performed their final MidEurope Music Festival concert at a delightful open air location on Schladming’s main pedestrian plaza.
Having now heard the ensemble perform four times, with each program varying slightly depending on the time of day and venue, this blogger is really enjoying watching the increased interaction between ensemble members as they hand off a melodic line, gently play beneath the solos, and obviously appreciate the special musical moments their colleagues are creating.
Off time in Schladming was a non-stop adventure. As part of our lodging package, we received “Summer Cards,” an inclusive pass for all of the region’s activities, including the Planai gondola, the Dachstein Glacier, the gravity propelled go karts that reach speeds of over 40 mph, and bus access all around. The group relished hikes, mountain bike rides, and taking in the fresh mountain air, so much so, Wesley Ferreira was heard yelling “Schlaaaadmiiiiing,” while running with arms stretched wide down the base of the glacier!
We cannot say enough about the opportunity to be in one incredible location for so many days, a special chance to drill deeper into the culture, history, food, and recreational offerings of an area. Thank you MidEurope Music Festival, and the Alpine town of Schladmubg, Austria for an incredible experience – we all hope to journey back someday!
~ posted by Jennifer Clary