Thursday, May 31, 2018

Eric Conway: Morgan Choir Gives Final Concert of Tour in Munich, Germany

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 9 - Transfer to Munich and final concert of the tour

This morning we left our hotel at 10 AM for a two hour drive to Munich, Germany.  Although we knew that we were close to Germany, we crossed the border in just five minutes from our hotel!  This explains why although there were many uniquely Austrian aspects to Salzburg, there was a strong Bavarian influence to this Austrian city as well. 

We had a beautiful drive along the country side to Munich.  I am sure that you have seen how green the region is, with rich soil for crops.  We were also impressed with the number of houses that had solar panels to generate energy, even In the rural areas of the country. Austria and Germany are much more progressive in some respects than we are in the United States.

Although the city state of Berlin is the capital of Germany,  Munich is the capital city of federal state of Bavaria, Bayern in German. Historic Salzburg is more of a Baroque-style city, however, many of the historic buildings in Munich are more Gothic in style.   We started our tour in Vienna, the largest city in Austria with a population of 1.8 million. Munich, the third largest city in Germany was similar in size with a population of 1.5 million.  

Unfortunately for us, tomorrow will be a huge religious holiday in Germany - Corpus Christi.  All grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks will be closed.  That means that prior to our concert tonight, we must try to see as much of Munich as possible!  Upon arrival to the city, we dispersed for lunch, to return within an hour for a walking tour of Munich.  We were given great information about the history of Munich including the name which means “by the monks” due to an historic Benedictine monastery centuries ago.

Life was certainly slower in Salzburg than in Munich.  We immediately were met with the hustle and bustle of city life.   We first met in the major city square called Marienplatz with an enormous city-hall structure in a typically gothic style.  We just missed the marionette display at the court house where all of the tourists stop for two minutes to see the mechanical display of puppets in the belfry of the courthouse.  We then walked to huge outdoor market with some of the freshest foods we had ever seen, with varieties of vegetables not normally sold in the states like “white asparagus.”  We visited the former Munich Royal residence which had many different parts added over the centuries.  We saw several different architectural exterior styles in the same building.  Part of the building featured painted stone to give the impression of grandeur.  We witnessed painted three-dimensional columns on stone and painted windows on stone, which from a distance looked quite genuine.

After our tour, we had just enough time to check in at our hotel outside of town.  Hotel Schleuse, was more of a quaint bed & breakfast establishment, rather than the more commercial buildings that we stayed earlier on the tour.  We were immediately concerned that there was no air condition in the rooms!  I am told that even in the heat of July, that evenings are generally cool enough that air-condition is not always a given in hotels.  This hotel is quite charming and very home-like.  Unfortunately for us, Munich was a little warmer than usual, but given that we were only going to be in the hotel for less than thirty-six hours, prior to our trip back to the states, we could make it without the the creature comfort of air conditioning!

We had our final concert of the tour last night.  The church was the Nazareth Lutheran church, which was a more contemporary structure than previous venues.   This finale concert, as in past tours, was with a local choir called: Gospel-N-Soul choir! They gave a enthusiastic 30-minute concert prior to our presentation.  This was a group whose charter was to learn gospel and soul music from America.  They were thirty voices strong.  They began their set with Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror and continued with many praise and worship songs from the Baptist church.  

We gave a very focused performance, knowing we had another choir was in the house, and knowing they were looking to us for gospel “expertise!”  We also were a little more demonstrative with our emotions knowing that this was our last concert of the tour and last concert for graduates to ever sing with the choir ever again in this capacity.   When arrived we had a short workshop with the other choir, that I led,  to learn two songs for a concert finale.  This concert was a great finale to a great tour.  

Both choirs met for a reception afterwards, where we ate and drank, and shared ideas about our respective cultures.  Although only pizza was served to everyone for the reception, many commented that the pizza was some of the best they had ever tasted.  The vegetarian options had arugula on top - almost healthy pizza!   A choir member from the other choir came up to me at the end of the concert saying in effect: just singing between our Morgan choir members encouraged them to perform differently and better.  The concert and exchange was a resounding success.  

See link to one of the finale songs with the other choir, as well a pics. from the day!


Link to street musician in Munich:

Link to another street musician in Munich:

Link to finale performance with the local choir:

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