Category Archives: Travel Blog

In the Haus

black and white image of St. John the Baptist parish church

The CSU Faculty Chamber Winds traveled up the road from Schladming to in Haus im Ennstal (on the Enns river) to play in the mid-1700’s parish church of St. John the Baptist, which was built after a fire destroyed the original, along with the rest of the town in 1750. The intricate gold Baroque alter was an incredible setting, and it was an honor to perform there.

Altar inside St. John the Baptist's parish church

The festival attendees certainly enjoyed the hour-long concert, giving two rousing ovations, which we obliged with Sousa marches. Although the Austrian’s are certainly familiar with marches, it struck me deeply that in hundreds of years, “Stars and Stripes” has probably never been played in this church. What an emotional moment to bring an American tradition to an already rich culture.

I will now turn over this entry to Richard Frey, the ensemble director:

Our time in Schladming is coming to an end, but this week has been a truly memorable time. Though the weather was unseasonably grey and rainy, it seemed to add to the intimacy of the town and the MidEurope festival. Besides, in a town this charming, if the sun had been out, one might suspect that the whole thing had been built by the fine people at Disney!

The lingering memory for me was our second concert which took place in the next town over from Schladming: Haus im Ennstal. We had already performed our concert at the Congress Schladming earlier that afternoon, and were uncertain what our venue would look like, how the taxi ride there would go, or if anyone would even show up. These are always legitimate questions when playing in unknown venues, but any concern or worry was quickly put aside on our arrival. The people of Haus were welcoming, and the church was magnificent, with the congregation dating back to the 11th century. The interior had a beautiful acoustic for wind playing (Gary’s excellent rendition of the Weber “Andante und Rondo Ungarese” really popped in the sanctuary!), and the scene shown in these pictures only begins to capture the beauty of the church.

Close up of the chamber of wind

For all of these surface elements, the real take away from that night was the joy that the audience brought to our performance. An eclectic mix of nuns, lay people still in their work clothes, and tourists visiting the MidEurope festival, the crowd cheered after every movement, and especially between each of the Copland songs. We gladly returned their standing applause with our two Sousa marches, and much clapping along and smiling ensued.

This concert, as with many of the outdoor concerts we’ve listened to in Schladming, have been filled with excitement, appreciation, and joy for music making. Though we spend hours refining technique, intonation, and the musical subtleties of our program, watching people dance, sing, and revel in these performances reminds me of why I love being a musician and part if a group like ours. It has been a real treat to be part of the joyful music making here in Schladming.

Click here for more photos.

~ posted by Jennifer Clary

Let’s open a festival!


Speaker at MidEurpoe Festival of Wind Music

Today the CSU Faculty Chamber Winds were honored to perform the opening concert at the Mid-Europe Festival for Wind Music.

conductor and musicians on stage

The diverse program included works by Rossini, Debussy, Mendelssohn, and Copland, and the attentive audience loved it! A crowd favorite was the highly entertaining Copland songs featuring baritone, John Seesholtz.

Conductor in action

“Excellent! Well balanced,” Kevin Sedatole – director of the World Youth Wind Orchestra Project and director of bands at Michigan State University College of Music – told Seesholtz after the concert.

The ensemble didn’t stop there and continued the evening with a performance in a church in Aus im Ennstal, an equally gorgeous village next to Schladming. More about that magical performance to come from Ensemble Director Richard Frey.

Click here for photos from the opening concert.

~ posted by Jennifer Clary

Graiß di Schladming

Building overlooking the Swiss Alps

Welcome to Austria, truly as beautiful and magnificent as you’ve ever imagined.

On Tuesday, the ensemble took a three and a half hour train ride from Munich to Schladming, peacefully traveling through picturesque countryside where rolling hills and gentle valleys are dotted with red clay-roofed villages. Suddenly the majestic Bavarian Alps came rising out of the mist as a backdrop for serene cows reposing in groups, their tan hide contrasting with the lush green grass.

Not a bad way to travel! I never heard an “are we there yet out of anyone,” and I think I heard someone singing “Climb Every Mountain” (yes, it may have been me…).

Schladming is a former mining city in the Austrian federated state of Styria, bordering Slovenia in the southeast of the country. The pristine resort town is an adventurist’s dream with skiing, hiking, paragliding, and mountain biking, but many shops, cafe’s, and a Benedictine Abbey, featuring a public library and winery are also near by.

conductor directing students

The ensemble spent the afternoon rehearsing in preparation for the Mid-Europe Music Festival, and three concerts on Wednesday. Debussy, Mozart, and Rossini never sounded better than in the lush mountain air. Click here for more rehearsal photos.

gondola ride down the mountain

Two of us managed to squeeze in a gondola ride up the Planai, Schladming’s main mountain, featuring “red” and black runs, and were in awe of the expert mountain bikers careening down the slopes.

The evening meal was taken at a delicious restaurant with a modern take on Bavarian recipes. I had roasted liver and potatoes, which was nothing like the shoe leather with onions my dad used to make! Other favorites were chicken and dumpling soup, goulash, and apple strudel.

Following dinner many of us joined the locals in the square to watch Germany crush Brazil at fútbol. I think we’ve all fallen for Austria!

~ posted by Jennifer Clary

Dachau Memorial

view through window

Ten of our group went to see the Dachau concentration camp on Sunday, the Nazi’s original concentration camp set up in 1933, with the memorial site opening in 1965.

It is hard to describe this experience. In between the long silences, we talked about how important it is that people experience the profundity of this place. We felt that experiencing a concentration camp wasn’t about just seeing a morbid site but a reminder that not only never again should this happen, but that we have deep compassion and tolerance for the future human race.

The physical reaction of walking into the gas chambers was extreme. We felt it to our toes.

An amazingly hard and dark experience but one we wouldn’t trade.

Click here for more information about the Dachau Memorial.

~ contributed by Michelle Stanley


The CSU Faculty Chamber Winds arrived safely in Munich, Germany over the weekend, which was spent acclimating and getting to know the capital city of Bavaria.

Marienplazt Munich

Marienplazt Munich

Founded north of the Alps in 1158 by Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony and of Bavaria, München, or monks place, is the third largest city in Germany with about 1.5 million residents. As the Hauptstadt der Bewegung (“Capital of the Movement”) Munich was the center of National Socialism, taking control of the German government in 1933. Subsequently the city sustained heavy bombing during WWII, but was extensively rebuilt. Known for its arts, culture, and science, today it is considered one of Europe’s most livable cities.

Muenchen S Bahn Mit Zweitem Tunnel map

The first thing one does upon arrival is to purchase a pass for the impressive and efficient transit system which features both above and underground trains. We couldn’t help but be a little envious!

Our hotel is half a dozen stops away from the city center, Marienplatz (Mary’s square), where upon emerging from the train station below, we simultaneously see a concert, watch the Glockenspiel, hear the bells, smell sausages and pretzels, and merge with 1000s, enjoying a beautiful evening.

After sampling a variety of deliciousness (from ripe cheeses to lavender truffles) at the famed Dallmayr Delikatessenhaus, we wandered through the pedestrian precinct to Augustiner am Platzl, a brauhaus featuring the libations of Munich’s oldest brewery, founded in 1328. Tired, with tummies full of Wurst, our first day in Europe was well spent.

Munich street signs

 Click here to see more photos.

~ posted by Jennifer Clary

CSU Faculty Chamber Winds 2014 European Tour

CSU faculty chamber of wind

The Colorado State University Faculty Chamber Winds are embarking on a two-week European tour July 4 – 19, 2014, performing at festivals, and historic sites in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary.

The anchor event of the tour is the annual Mid Europe Music Festivalheld in Schladming and Haus/Ennstal, Austria, July 8-13where the ensemble is scheduled to perform five concerts at a variety of venues. According to the festival’s website, “MID EUROPE is one of the most important international festivals for wind bands, and proudly presents an enormous stylistic variety of the highest quality.” The CSU Faculty Chamber Winds were invited to participate based on the group’s eclectic repertoire, arrangements, and recordings of the last two years.

The CSU faculty is passionate about bringing creative new elements to classical music making. The tour repertoire includes European and American compositions, with much of the program specially arranged and edited for the ensemble by CSU Associate Director of Bands Dr. Richard Frey, and Trombone Professor Dr. Christopher Van Hof. “The unique instrumentation of the ensemble creates a fantastic opportunity for us to put together some great music,” said Dr. Frey. “Though this type of small wind ensemble is rarely heard in America, composers have been writing for this medium for two centuries.  Concert goers will hear one-of-a-kind transcriptions of opera overtures, a beautiful new setting of Copland’s Old American Songs,” as well as original works for harmonie, like Mendelssohn’s Notturno, Op. 24.”

During the week-long festival, the CSU Ensemble will play concerts alongside wind bands from Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and more at the world-wide band festival, which also features a brass tattoo, workshops, and masterclasses.

The tour is an opportunity to expose the CSU music brand internationally, both for the purpose of recruiting and networking. “We are thrilled to take our world-class faculty on this tour,” exuded Frey, “and we look forward to sharing this special program with audiences across Central Europe.”

Additionally, the festival, and subsequent tour, brings great exposure to wind bands, a medium that is not as well known in the United States. “The ensemble has been performing for a couple of years, and as we continue to grow, touring was the natural next step in that process,” added Frey. “A chance for us to connect with similarly-minded musicians from all over the world; making friendships and professional connections are also a fun part of what we do.”