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.
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.
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.
~ posted by Jennifer Clary