Saturday, May 26, 2018

Eric Conway: Day 4 of Tour Takes Morgan State Choir to Bratislava, Slovakia

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 4 in Slovakia:

Today, the Morgan choir woke up earlier to depart from Vienna, Austria to travel to our new destination Bratislava, Slovakia.   We have had almost perfect weather our first few days in Europe, but this morning was cold and wet. The journey to Bratislava is famous because it parallels the famous Danube River.  The Danube river connects Vienna, with Bratislava and Budapest, Hungary!  Slovakia was once part of the former Czechoslovakia.  The small country of Slovakia is surrounded by five different countries - Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria. 

On our way to our next destination, we made a stop to tour a national park commemorating the ancient Roman City of Carnumtum - a former Roman Empire military post.  On this site was a reconstruction of buildings from the period - 6 AD to almost the year 400 AD.  We were impressed with the relatively advanced architecture of the times.  Much of today's architecture and civil engineering is based on Roman advancement over two thousand years ago. Unfortunately due to the rain, we did not get as much from the visit as we could have, but it still was worth the stop to learn about how the Roman Empire extended as far north as the Danube river in this region and all the way to Great Britain to the west of us.

After the tour of ancient city, we traveled to Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia for our performance.   We were pleased that the sun began to break through.  Bratislava is a charming city that most were not aware even existed.  We knew we were in a different country due to all the signs being written in a different language - Slovak.  Their Slovak language is closer to Polish than German. Surprisingly many of the locals did not know any German, despite being only one hour from Vienna unless they studied the language in school.  We had lunch on our own and then took a walking guided tour of the city.  Bratislava is one of the smallest capital cities in all of Europe which meant for the visitor that one could virtually walk the entire city without any trouble. Many of the inhabitants seemed to be enjoying just walking around the city center taking in local life.  We only a had a little over two hours to travel to our hotel  and turnaround for our performance which was at least twenty minutes from the city.

Tonight, we performed at the Jesuit Church.  Our presentation was not full concert, but a participation in a mass with a short concert immediately afterwards.  We sang the introit, offertory, communion selection, and finale during the service. The 6 PM service was well attended where the entire service was spoken in the local Slovak language. Many who had heard the other two concerts said this was the first concert where the choir seemed to truly enjoy their sound.  I personally believed as good as the acoustics of the other two venues, we were able to hear each other much better in this church than previous venues and thus were encouraged to blend our voices more and consequently sing more in tune! 

After the mass and brief concert afterwards, we went out to dinner at a local restaurant.  A local Gospel choir who called themselves Apollo attended our presentation and joined us at dinner.  They knew a few of our selections, so after our dinner,  we all sang one spiritual together which was quite special for both choirs.  See attached more photos and links to videos of our tour of the city and performance below. 


Link to Slovakian street musician:

Link to another Slovakian street musician:

Link to Jesuit service - The Lord Be Praised

Link to Oh Happy Day encore:

No comments: