Saturday, June 2, 2018

Eric Conway: Final Day of Morgan State University Choir Central European Tour

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Final Day of Morgan Choir Central European Tour

Today, we anxiously awoke knowing that later on today, albeit eighteen hours later, we would be back home in America!  After the rainfall last night, the evening temperature dropped at least ten degrees, and with the windows opened, it was quite comfortable to sleep. We were scheduled to load the bus at 5:30 AM to leave by 5:40.  Breakfast sandwiches were prepared for the group, knowing that we were leaving before breakfast was served.  

We arrived quite quickly to the airport.  We originally flew Air France to Vienna, however we flew the Dutch airline KLM on the return flight.  We were scheduled to have a layover in Amsterdam in The Netherlands, which was exciting for some to at least touch another country, and receive another country stamp in their passport! 

We did have a little excitement this morning! Although everyone was repeatedly reminded this morning to view their passport before we left the hotel, one underclassman who believed it was in his pouch, could not find it while in line at the airport.

Fortunately, we arrived at the gate three hours prior to departure.  We had time to call the hotel, locate the passport in his room, place it in a taxi to bring to the airport.  Consider this a lesson to us all - you can never check view your passport too many times!  All was resolved within an hour with the passport delivered to the airport! Thank God for our very capable guide Lela who assisted in retrieving his passport.

Due to heavy fog this morning in Amsterdam, the flight was delayed an hour.  Consequently, our final leg to the United States was similarly delayed as well. After the seven hour and thirteen minute flight, we arrived back in the United States at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC by 3:50 PM. 
 After the requisite custom declaration process, we were on a bus back to Baltimore. The bus arrived just as we were leaving the terminal.   The bus ride back from D.C. is always a tad anxious because everyone cannot wait to get back to their families and homes.  

After a ride with worse-than-normal Baltimore-Washington rush hour traffic, taking us over two hours to return back to campus, we were back on campus at Morgan by 7:15 PM, after twenty hours of travel.

With a thirty-hour day, recapturing the six hours lost upon arriving in Europe eleven days ago, we were finally safely back home.  We had an extraordinary trip!  We knew before the tour began that this was going to be a great tour - if for no other reason than the bus company that took us around Europe was called Schwarz - which means Black in German!

If any student didn’t know how great this trip was before we left Baltimore, they immediately realized the impact of this tour when Music majors actually saw the gravesites of Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, and others.  These famous composers are not just names in music history books anymore!

Our hope at Morgan is that these choir tours are transformative for our students. As wonderful as it is to share our music with the world, our trips to foreign countries must forever change their lives!  They must not return the same person that they were before the tour.  In Morgan’s President’s own words, our students must “grow the future, and lead the world!"


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