Monday, May 28, 2018

Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir Performed Sunday in Salzburg, Austria

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 6 in Salzburg, Austria:

Today, Sunday, May 27, 2018 was the day for the Morgan choir to explore the historic city of Salzburg, Austria.  Salzburg literal means Salt Castle, which comes from the many barges that carried salt on the adjacent Saltzach river which had to pay a toll to pass through the region.  The city is known for being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as the setting of several scenes from The Sound of Music.

Our first obligation was to sing for the 11:30 AM Sunday mass at the Salzburg Cathedral.  I was excited to return to Salzburg, given I have not returned here since my college years.  Although Vienna is the Austrian city of culture, Salzburg is the Austrian city of Music.  As we entered the city, we could hear musicians performing around the city.  We quickly took a group photo in front of the Salzburg cathedral.   

Many of the choir members have seen many formidable cathedrals before but were not ready for the arresting beauty of this cathedral.  Given the size of the city of 150,000 inhabitants, currently being mostly college town with over 30,000 students, we did not know how beautiful and ornate the cathedral would be.  We were told later that the Salzburg Cathedral was where the assistant to the Pope led his diocese.  Salzburg was known as the Vatican City of the north in Europe!  For this reason, the Catholic Church made a huge investment in this church, mostly financed by the salt mines of the area.  Salt was quite the commodity in earlier times due to being one of the only ways that food could be preserved.

The mass went well.  We happened to have a few students who are Catholic who were able to actually take Communion during the mass.  During this tour, we participated in three different masses, One mass at a Jesuit church in Bratislava, another at the Parish Church in Mondsee, and finally at the Salzburg Cathedral. In participating in the masses of these churches, although most choir members are not Catholic, the experience further enhanced our cultural experience in these central European countries.  Each of the services were led in their native tongue.  Although the mass is constant around the world, every church, like home, has their own approach to the mass.  I believe that all choir members enjoyed a richer cultural experience because of our participation in the masses.  We were intricately involved in the Sunday mass today and sang a 30 minute concert after the mass.  

After our mass, we had an hour to walk around Salzburg before a formal guided tour of the the city.  Being a Sunday, and a beautiful one at that, the city was not as crowded as it typically is with locals and our tourists.  At the conclusion of our guided tour we toured the birthplace of Mozart.  The tour revealed Mozart’s humble beginnings as a musical genius.  After the Mozart birthplace tour, most explored the city, picking up souvenirs and buying world-famous Mozart Kugeln (chocolate covered candy with Hazelnut).  A few of us went up to the Salzburg Castle via the cable car to see a view of all of Salzburg!  

For our group dinner, we had Austrian Gulash with potatoes which was again very good.  

We returned to the hotel as early as 8:45 PM this evening, for us all to all get some good rest!


Street musician in Salzburg:

Franz Biebl Ave Maria at the Salzburg Cathedral:

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

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