Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 9: Edinburgh Castle and University of Edinburgh Céilidh Experience

Day 9 Reflections:
Today was an emotional day for us all, as it was the choir’s last full day in beautiful Scotland. We began the day by traveling to Edinburgh Castle, which is home to the Stone of Scone (also known as the Stone of Destiny), upon which numerous monarchs have been crowned; and the Crown Jewels of Scotland. After walking through the castle grounds, the choir was free to explore around Edinburgh for several hours. Today was the first real experience the choir has had with typical Scottish weather, since we have been blessed with fair weather throughout the majority of this trip. However, the weather gods decided that the choir would not have gained a true sense of what Scotland is like without being subjected to cold, rainy weather. Those who did not bring their umbrellas with them were forced to make a mad dash to a nearby store to purchase one. However, the rain soon settled into a light drizzle, which did not prove too bothersome while we went about enjoying our free time. After our free time was over, we met up with one another and then went to meet with a local group for dinner and entertainment at the University of Edinburgh. The group taught us some traditional Scottish songs and also traditional Scottish dances. We left a bit early in order to be back in time to pack for tomorrow’s flight. We are sad to be leaving behind such a wonderful place, but also look forward to seeing all of our friends and family in the U.S. again!
~Amber Roberts
We had a later start than usual, so we got to sleep in for a little while longer. After breakfast, we headed to the New Edinburgh where we visited the Edinburgh Castle, which in my opinion had the best view of the city.  Amidst the rain and freezing weather, we all embarked on our own personal tours of the city. So, with map in hand and a few friends, we set out to conquer this great city. There were art galleries, the parliament, National library and definitely malls where most people visited to do last minute shopping for their family members.
After the tours, we all congregated at our usual stop close to St Giles Cathedral and walked our way over to where our final reception (Ceilidh) was to be held. On our arrival, we noticed that we came a little early so to pass some time, the concert choir rap book was revealed and after a series of numbers from the group, it was time for a surprise!! The seniors after serious deliberations had decided to find a new keeper of THE book since the current keeper was a senior and had graduated.  The announcement was then made that Keith Wall would be the new keeper. After this coronation, Keith led the choir in his own personal rap.
Despite the long anticipation, the food finally arrived and so did the musicians, before this though we had the opportunity of singing with a group called the Sangstream choir. They taught us some Scottish songs and we in turn sang some selections from our repertoire. A traditional dinner was served which included neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes) and haggis. We then learned some Scottish line dances ,which was accompanied by the Ceilidh Caleerie band. This was definitely a great experience for every member of the concert choir and I’m so glad that I had an opportunity to be a part of this group.
~Onyeka Ononye








Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Musica Gallega

Escrito por Fiorina Adorati
Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, España

Este es el trabajo que hice con la presentación que me fue muy bien. Les quería dar un poco de información sobre la musica típica de esta zona, Galicia. Espero que les gusten…

 Musica Gallega: Canciones para Voz y Piano


Información General
El Rexurdimento fue sumamente importante para el nacimiento de la música de salón. En un período de tiempo en el que la persecución y pobreza causo la emigración masiva hacia América Latina y los Estados Unidos, sobre todo en Argentina, Uruguay y Cuba. Desgraciadamente, la lengua gallega y cultura corrió el riesgo de desaparecer completamente. A continuación, el Rexurdimento dio paso a un movimiento que revitalizó la propia cultura y dio esperanza a los gallegos. Tuvo lugar durante el siglo XIX y terminó en los inicios del siglo XX. Un famoso diario que se editó en la ciudad de La Habana llamado, La Tierra Gallega, permitió a la gente conmemorar su cultura, inspirando a escritores y artistas a unirse al movimiento. Por ejemplo, en un artículo titulado, "La Habana para un exiliado gallego: Manuel Curros Enríquez, "La Tierra Gallega" y la modernidad nacional transatlántica" el autor subraya sobre el movimiento "el periódico le ofrece a Curros Enríquez el espacio desde donde expresar los intereses regionalistas gallegos: el lugar de la escritura desde donde narrar la Galicia que desde el Rexurdimento acabara transformándose en una de las naciones de la España postnacional actual" (Bermúdez, 2002: 332). Este movimiento permitió a los escritores como Rosalía de Castro y Curros Enríquez y entre otros; a adoptar la poesía como una forma de rejuvenecer su propia cultura con orgullo Gallego y tratar de preservarla. De las obras de estos escritores han nacido posteriormente muchas canciones famosas que destaca musica galega.
Además, en otro artículo titulado ""El Tema de La Emigración en los Compositores Gallegos," se señala que, "es un género que tiene sus precedentes en el leid alemán romántico y de modo más directo en la mélodie francesa."(Alén, 2008: 377)  En el lied movimiento los artistas tomaron el material de sus canciones de famosos poemas y obras de la literatura. La difusión del lied con la melodie francés formo lo que se conoce como <melodías gallegas>. Es importante decir que la lengua gallega es bastante propicia para la poesía, ya que tiene “siete fonemas vocálicos”  (Alen, 2002: 377). El potente poder de la poesía, permite al lector u oyente captar matices propios de la tierra tradiciones y recuerdos, creando así un flujo de sentimientos. Asimismo, se pone mucho énfasis en temas tales como "la emigración, la romería, la naturaleza, el trabajo en el campo [..]"(Alén, 2002: 376). A pesar de que muchos temas desempeñan papeles importantes en musica galega, Alén escribe sobre uno de los más importantes, la emigración. Famosos compositores destacados durante esta época incluye: Marcial del Adalid, Juan Montes, José Castro “Chane” y Jose Baldomir.
Marcial del Adalid (A Coruña, 1826-1821) es reconocido como el primer compositor gallego y el creador de este género. Es conocido por haber adaptado poesía en música de salón: piano y voz. Esto tuvo gran éxito tanto en España como en Europa, ya que sus obras se adaptaron a diferentes idiomas. Asimismo, existen diferentes tipos de gallego melodías, baladas cantigas, romanzas. Adalid se centra principalmente en temas de familia, sus orígenes, paisajes y su patria de Galicia. El material de sus canciones frecuentemente proviene de las obras de Fanny Garrido, su esposa. Fanny, mujer culturalmente abierta, hablaba muchos idiomas, lo cual le ha permitido tener a su disposición un gran material a menudo facilitado por traducir obras y de este modo ayudaba a su esposo para crear nuevas canciones. Una de sus canciones más importantes es "'Non te quero por bonita." El significado de la canción, es el de amar a una persona no por su belleza sino más bien la conexión que se comparte, una conexión romántica. Es uno de los temas más populares. Una vez más, sus canciones se destacan  por el acopamiento de voz con piano (Alén, 2008: 377).
Sin embargo, el artista más destacado de este género es Juan Montes Capón (Lugo, 1840-1899). Es importante señalar que “solo vivió la emigración como espectador.” Era a la vez profesor de música y director en la catedral de Lugo, así como de maestro de capilla de la catedral.  Montes conocido sobre todo por sus 6 baladas con texto de Rosalía Castro y Curros Enríquez. Rosalía escribe de un modo muy intimista y personal, mientras Curros Enríquez se basa más en témas de ámbito político. Estas baladas suelen estar compuestas por diferentes versiones. Algunos se componen con orquesta, otras con sólo piano y voz, y algunos están escritos para coro. Dos de las más importantes son 'Negra Sombra” y “Lonxe d'a terriña.” “Negra Sombra” ilustra el poema de Rosalía de Castro, es evidente la presencia de la muerte, la canción es preciosa y, a la vez profunda y con tintes oscuros. Por otro lado, "Lonxe d'a terriña", toma poemas escritos por Aureliano Pereira, combina tanto temas de la emigración y amor por Galicia. Montes continuó con su admiración por su terriña desde los ojos de un espectador, oyendo historia sobre la emigración y escribiendo sobre ella. Dio a su trabajo un punto de vista íntimo. Los temas son basados en el concepto de estar lejos de casa y el dolor y las pérdidas que provoca (Alén, 2008: 378-380).
Inspirado por su padre y maestro, Don José Castro "Chané" (Santiago de Compostela, 1856-La Habana, 1917) es otro de los que cultivo este género. Chané pasó tres años en la esfera militar ubicado en A Coruña. Durante los tres años que estuvo en con los militares formo parte de la banda militar permaneció en A Coruña para estudiar posteriormente enseñanza. En 1893, emigró a La Habana, Cuba. En La Habana se reunió con Curros Enríquez y se convirtieron en buenos amigos. Muchas de sus obras se basan las obras de su amigo; de hecho “ha sido considerado un tesoro suficiente para designar a Chané como el músico de Curros.” Chane continuó con su admiración por su terriña en Cuba desde los ojos de un emigrante. Una de sus obras más famosas “Os teus ollos”, es de un poema de Curros Enríquez. En un artículo nos aclara que “El poeta parece buscar en vano una “mirada meiga”, un deseo inalcanzable, y el músico engalana el texto con una melodía apropiada, hermosa y doliente. Se reproduce completo el poema, difícil de adaptar al castellano” (Opusmusica, 2009).
Otro compositor que debe ser mencionado es José Baldomir Rodríguez (A Coruña, 1867-1947). Estudió con el primo de Marcial de Adalid, él también fue director de los coros locales. Una vez más sus canciones para piano y voz fueron tomados de textos de escritores conocidos de Galicia, “fue sin duda el músico que mas uso hizo de los poemas de  Rosalía Castro” (Alen, 2007:71). El es también conocido una vez más por temas de una emigración y amor a su patria; aunque, la emigración no se destaca especialmente en sus obras. Una de sus canciones más importantes es "Como foy?" son palabras tomadas de un poema de Curros Enríquez. Esta canción es acerca del extremadamente doloroso caso de la muerte de un niño. Esto pone de manifiesto la fría y dura realidad de la vida cotidiana en este período de tiempo. Además, un articulo nos asegura que  “Con él, el género alcanza su plena madurez” (Alen, 2007: 72).
Podemos afirmar que, todos los artistas comparten un sentimiento de orgullo gallego y amor a su patria que podríamos llamar “el carácter del  <<espíritu gallego>>” (Alen, 2008:375-385). En un momento en que su cultura y su idioma se estaba acercando rápidamente al peligro de extinción, el Rexurdimento permitió precisamente eso, un renacimiento cultural en Galicia de inmensa importancia. Temas como la emigración, el amor a la patria, la familia, los paisajes, la muerte, las tradiciones y la religión desempeñan un papel importante en el desarrollo del movimiento durante el 1808 al 1916. Con sus bonitas palabras, poetas como Rosalía de Castro y Curros Enríquez, entre otros, componen una nueva forma de hacer evolucionar el binomio poesía-musica para formar un nuevo género. Todo permitió la creación de las <melodías galegas>,que forman ricos tesoros de cultura de Galicia.

Melodías Gallegas






Bibliografías
A Canción Gallega. Dir. José López-Calo. 2001. Xunta de Galicia. CD.
Alén, Maria Pilar. "El Tema De La Emigración En Los Compositores     Gallegos." (2008): 375-85. Print.
Alén, Maria Pilar. "Homenaje a José García." La Edad De Oro De Las Melodías Gallegas (2002): 375-81.
Alén, Maria Pilar. "Revista De Musicología." Review. Reflexiones Sobre Un Siglo De Musica Gallega XXX.1 (2007): 49-102. 
"Las Melodí­as Gallegas (2ª Parte)." Las Melodías Gallegas (2ª Parte). Abril 2009. Web. 04 Mayo 2012. <http://www.opusmusica.com/034/melodias2.html>.
"OpusMusica." Las Melodías Gallegas (1ª Parte). Abril. 2009. Web. 04 Mayo 2012. <http://www.opusmusica.com/033/melodias.html>.

Day 8: St. Giles Cathedral and Edinburgh

Day 8 Reflections:
Today we rose early to depart for Edinburgh, Scotland to perform our final concert at the historic St. Giles’ Cathedral. After an informative guided tour of the church, we gathered under the beautiful architecture and amongst the lustrous and epic stained glass windows to sing our final selections. It was bittersweet for both the seniors and those departing from concert choir after this year as the closing Lutkin benediction’s “May the Lord bless you and keep you” echoed through the great cathedral, bringing our journeys with the group, as well as Scotland, to an end.
Following the church concert, we all went out separate ways to explore the city – some to tourist shops, some to eat at the Elephant House where Harry Potter was first conceived by author JK Rowling. Personally, I went to the University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum, where I had the lucky opportunity to be allowed access to see the skeleton of my infamous body snatching great great great great great grandfather, William Burke. It was a life-changing experience for me, as I’m sure others have also had on this trip.
Next we had a very dramatic and chilling tour of Edinburgh, led by very charismatic guides dressed in ghoulish black capes and robes. This fun experience tied up our time in Edinburgh for the day, and we headed back to the hotel for another delicious dinner in Stirling. We tied up the night by singing the Lutkin benediction for the friendly kitchen crew.
~Mary Moates
We began our day driving to Edinburgh to take a tour of St. Giles Cathedral.  It was a beautiful drive as we were leaving the city of Stirling, and traveling through the cloudy countryside to Edinburgh. The St. Giles Cathedral was absolutely gorgeous.  The stained glass, architecture, and building in its entirety was breathtaking.  We were able to take a tour before our performance at 12:15.  Today was our last performance and it was extremely emotional and memorable when we were singing as our sound carried throughout the cathedral.
Ashley Abbott was happy to tell me her thoughts on the performance, “It was an amazing experience, truly overwhelming for not only the seniors, but the choir as a whole.” And, Kevin Krapf commented, “Singing with the MC Concert Choir at St. Giles was both an honor and joy that I will remember vividly forever.  As a graduating senior, I can feel nothing less than overwhelming gratitude for the chance to sing in such remarkable venues with this passionate and beautiful choir.” For our last performance I can’t think of a better group to sing with than the Maryville College Choir throughout this year and our Scotland Choir tour have become a close family, creating musical moments that will continue to be one of the most memorable experiences in our lives.
After all of the joyful tears following a wonderful performance we were able to take a break; search the town and get some lunch.  Then it was time for the ghostly underground tour.  Guided by a man who fully captivated our attentions, we were led on a historical/ghostly tour through parts of Edinburgh to the underground that gave us goose bumps.  After the tour, we had a very quiet bus ride back; exhaustion had taken over.  We have one more day in Scotland!
~Courtney Eaton


"God, grant me the serenity"

 by Keli Shipley
Intern at Porch de Salomon, Guatemala

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 

courage to change the things I can, 
and wisdom to know the difference. 

living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, the sinful world as it is, 
not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him.
Forever in the next. 
-Reinhold Niebuhr
This has always been one of my favorite prayers and is more or less the foundation of the trip that I have chosen to go on. I focus on "living one day at a time" because that is just about the only way you can in Guatemala, or so I have learned. 
First off, travelling yesterday wasn't too too bad. Took some medicine [prescription for motion sickness] which made the trip less nauseating but a bit more spacey haha. The flights weren't too long and it was nice that I was able to meet up with the Monroe's [Melanie and Lloyd] as well as Lena [another intern] at the Atlanta airport. This made the transition very easy into Guatemala. Hector, one of the employees, picked us up in the porch's van and we made the 3 hour long trip to Pana from Guatemala City. We stopped along the way at a "pollo campero" which is a mix between KFC and McDonald's. 
It was nice to sit down and have a bite to eat [oh and did I mention I ate Qdoba at the Atlanta airport at 10 a.m., thinking that was my last chance to get "American" food.. little did I know...]
A misconception that I had was that I would probably get sick immediately when eating for the first time in Guatemala. While this still may happen due to the water and some of the fruits, I am doubting that this fast food fried chicken will cause that to happen.
the vehicle that is smoking is one of the red city buses
Since I was the newbie to Guatemala, everyone in the van was very helpful in giving me advice on what to expect and explaining the different things that we saw. The roads are rather hectic, to put it lightly, and they are filled with people of all ages, motorcycles, vans, trucks, buses, etc. There were these massive red buses everywhere, also known as chicken buses [as shown to the right]. They are the cheapest form of public transportation, but also the most dangerous. 
As we traveled through the mountains, we ended up going downhill for a while and saw the beautiful Lake Atitlan, and Pana is the lakeshore city. It was raining, as it is the rainy season in Guatemala, and there was a rainbow awaiting our arrival. Seems cliche, but it was beautiful. 


What a wonderful way to enter into Pana. We first dropped off Lena at Joe and Kristen's house [two other missionaries in Pana] and then went to the Monroe's house, which is located in a gated residential area in Pana. They had an awesome room set up for me to stay in for the next couple of days, just to get acclimated to the area.
Pana is two hours different from good ole' chattanooga, so we arrived in Pana about 3:00 their time. Melanie, Lloyd, and I travelled around the city and they showed me all of the cool places to go in Pana, as well as the main places that I will need to take the groups to [there are different mission groups that come down during the summer and I will be a guide, of sorts. and for me to be a good guide, I should probably know my way around]

After that, we ate a Mexican restaurant [yes, mexican. & it was delicious] and then headed back to go to sleep. We took a "took-took" back to the house, which is a motorized vehicle on three wheels, kind of like a motorized carriage or like one of those bikes in central park. You can see the back of one of them in the picture below.


I got to sleep in, but ended up waking up around 9:00 [so 11:00 back home]. I went out by myself to explore the city and walked on the most popular street in Guatemala, known for it's shopping. I wish I could remember the name, something that starts with an "S" which I am sure I'll figure out tomorrow. You walk downhill for a while with the streets lined with all different kinds of vendors. The vendors sell anything and everything from jewelry, embroidered bags, masks to fried chicken, mangos, and freshly squeezed orange juice. If you walk far enough, you end up at Lake Atitlan, which is gorgeous.

tons of boats to rent. 

I spend most of the day at the "porch" or the cafe that is run by the Monroes. There are three women who work there [I am unsure how to spell their names] and they are so welcoming, and help with my Spanish a lot. Their names are Carmen, Mierna, and Bierma. There were mainly Americans that passed in and out of the porch. Most of them help volunteer with the projects that "porchdesalomon" leads. I met one man by the name of Neil. He is from Indiana and is down in Guatemala helping out with many things and in particular, leads AA for the locals and visitors. I have really enjoyed meeting all these new people and because Pana is such a small town, it's easy to run into everyone fairly often, as far as I can gather.

I didn't realize how long this post would be, but I figured it was a good idea to lay the foundation for what Pana is like and what my trip is really about.

Things that I have learned thus far:

  • In regard to water, H= cold and C= hot (caliente). Learned that oen the hard way... 
  • Do not flush the toilet paper because it goes straight to the lake
  • Do not drink the water, unless you wish to become ill 
  • Use bottled water to brush your teeth
  • More people know English than you would think 
  • Everything is fairly inexpensive. 7.55 Quetzal (Q)= 1 American Dollar
    • Today I spent 20 American dollars or 155 Q and bought
      • Full breakfast, lunch, and dinner (including drinks) 
      • Licuado (fruit and milk, similar to a smoothie) 
      • Small change purse
      • Minutes for my prepaid phone (enough for a month or so) 
Breakfast: Cinnamon roll
from the streets
& freshly squeezed orange juice
19 Q= $2.50
Tomorrow, I plan on moving out the Monroes and into a hotel [more details to come], which should be an exciting adventure, to say the least. You really do have to take Guatemala day be day because most everything is very spontaneous [for instance, no reservations are needed at many of the hotels, restaurants, etc.]. There is no real standard of measurement or set prices for many things and everyone is very friends [some males are a bit too friendly haha]. But this will be an interesting experience. I was a bit nervous travelling here alone and it would be nice to have a friend or two here, but ultimately, everything will be fine. I think I have a little more than 40 days down here and it's my goal to make all of them count. I will have a fair amount of down time, which will be nice and much different than life at Maryville, but once the teams start coming down [first one is June 9th] then the pace will pick up. I have a lot of freedom down here and as we all know, freedom and privilege come with responsibility. I have a few main goals which include: 
  1. Improving my Spanish
  2. Eating something new 
  3. Not getting run over
  4. Not getting sick 
Hope to update soon about my new living situation and getting further acclimated with the city [as well as addressing the difficulties that come with having a language barrier]. Until then, buenas noches! 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DID THEY REALLY MAKE SO MUCH FOOD THEY HAD TO USE SHOPPING CARTS TO BRING IT ALL IN?

Elizabeth Hiatt
Johannes-Kepler Universitat Linz

There was another Stammtisch last Tuesday, and I’d have to say it was the best one yet.  It was the Southern Stammtisch, and students from South America, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Croatia treated the rest of us to a delicious homemade dinner.  Everything was truly delicious!  We started off with some Croatian style onions and sausage, and then had pesto pasta, and authentic Italian pizza.  Some of the students from Spain came a little bit later, and they made so much food they literally had to bring it over to LUI in two shopping carts!

They had made dozens of what looked like egg bakes, but they were spicy, fluffy, and delicious.  They had also made what reminded me a lot of French toast, but with lots of cinnamon.  One of my favorite dishes was the one two girls from Peru made.  They made some kind of mashed potatoes with a creamy, spicy chicken topping and it was… amazing!  It’s one recipe I definitely have to get.  We spent the night eating great food and playing pool, so I’d definitely call it a good time.  I think it was the best Stammtisch we’ve had, and I thought the Asian Stammtisch before that was pretty amazing.

Did They Really Make So Much Food They Had To Use Shopping Carts To Bring It All In?


There was another Stammtisch last Tuesday, and I’d have to say it was the best one yet.  It was the Southern Stammtisch, and students from South America, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Croatia treated the rest of us to a delicious homemade dinner.  Everything was truly delicious!  We started off with some Croatian style onions and sausage, and then had pesto pasta, and authentic Italian pizza.  Some of the students from Spain came a little bit later, and they made so much food they literally had to bring it over to LUI in two shopping carts! 

They had made dozens of what looked like egg bakes, but they were spicy, fluffy, and delicious.  They had also made what reminded me a lot of French toast, but with lots of cinnamon.  One of my favorite dishes was the one two girls from Peru made.  They made some kind of mashed potatoes with a creamy, spicy chicken topping and it was… amazing!  It’s one recipe I definitely have to get.  We spent the night eating great food and playing pool, so I’d definitely call it a good time.  I think it was the best Stammtisch we’ve had, and I thought the Asian Stammtisch before that was pretty amazing. 

My New Addiction


So I’m afraid I’ve become an addict since I’ve been here.  I’ve been in Linz roughly three and a half months, but it really only takes a day.  Ever since I stepped into the H & M on Landstrasse I was in love and I was addicted for life.  And I honestly don’t know what will happen when I go back to the States!  I’m thankful that, of all places, they chose to open an H & M in Atlanta.  Otherwise I might not survive. 

I’ve only been shopping a couple times there, but I love it every time I go!  I like looking at all of the clothes on display, but my favorite places to go are all the sales racks.  And Linz doesn’t have just one H & M… it has two! Right down the road from each other!

Before I came to Austria, people told me that it would be really important for me to dress nicely when I went out.  None of this sweatpants-or-workout-clothes-to-class-or-out-to-run-errands business.  For the most part, I’ve found, this is true, but there are still some students who walk around campus in sweatpants.  I’ve noticed that people generally look pretty put together out in the city, but no more so than I’m used to back at home.  The only difference is that come exam time there are not that many more people running around in shorts and T-Shirts on campus, and I have yet to see someone come to class in their pajamas, which was a pretty regular sight at Maryville. 

In the clothes department what I do miss is having University gear.  While most colleges have all kinds of T-Shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, water bottles, what have you, JKU (as far as I’m aware) doesn’t really have anything like that – just a T-Shirt I think.  I found it interesting that this kind of thing isn’t as popular here.  And, in talking to other European students I’ve found that they say the same thing.  Yet another one of the tiny details that makes things different.

In any case, where as I used to rarely ever go, I feel that once I get back to the States I’ll be frequenting the H & M in the city a little bit more often. 


Cultural Experiences in Europe


One of my goals, one of the things I felt that I absolutely had to do while I was here, was to go see a play, opera, or ballet.  I mean, you can’t come all the way to Europe and not see at least one of these.  So, the other day when some of my friends and I were talking about it and they expressed interest as well I was really excited.  One of the girls looked up some ballets at the local theatre, and we decided to go to one called “Das Narrenschiff” (“Ship of Fools”).  I read the description, and it said that the show was about a group of people on a on a ship from Mexico to Germany set during the beginning of the Nazi regime in Europe.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but us ladies put on our cute dresses and heels and went out to see it.  The tickets were only 10 Euro, so it was very affordable. 

The only ballet I had seen previously was a recital of The Nutcracker, and this was definitely something entirely different.  There wasn’t very much dancing, but when there was it was only a bit of it was what I thought of as traditional ballet, and one of the main group dances was a Mambo.  There were many characters on the boat:  the captain and crew, a couple that was always fighting, and young couple (the man was an artist), a woman dressed all in black, an older woman and her daughter, and many others.  The title was certainly appropriate because, from what I could tell, each of the characters was definitely foolish in his or her own way.

Needless to say, the ballet wasn’t what my friends were expecting either – far from it.  Afterwards we went out for ice cream on the square.  When the weather got nice the restaurants put chairs and tables outside on the square, so we sat out and talked for about another hour (mostly about the ballet we had just seen). 

Hopefully I’ll get the chance to go to the opera while I’m here, but anyway, lesson learned:  do lots of research about anything you go see that you’re not already familiar with!  

Salzburg


Last weekend I went to Salzburg, and I’m so glad I did.  It was one of the few places that I knew I needed to visit before I came back home.  Again, we took the lovely train into the city, and it only took about an hour and a half.  When we first arrived we tried to find our bearings, but we ended up getting on the wrong bus (right line, wrong direction), and it took us away from the city instead of towards it.  At one point the bus stopped in a place that definitely didn’t look like the city center, and the driver requested that all the passengers get off and told us he couldn’t take us any farther because of the traffic.  As we were walking around we did notice an extraordinary number of people… and dogs.  We rounded a corner and came upon a convention center that had a big sign saying “World Dog Show”! There were dogs everywhere:  huge dogs, tiny dogs, dogs with bows, and dogs with hair-dos… After taking a few pictures and laughing at our mistake, we got back on a bus heading in the right direction and finally ended up in Salzburg city center. 

The first thing I did there was visit Mozart’s Geburtshaus, or his birth house.  They had turned the house he was born in into a multi-floor museum of all things Mozart.  I spent a good hour and a half looking at all the displays and admiring the house.  Afterwards, we decided to break for lunch and it was then that we came to the main square and stumbled upon a Brass and Woodwind music festival.  There was a stage set up along with stands and stands of all kinds of food and drink.  We stayed for a little while to admire the music and then started the walk up to the fortress on the hill that provided a lovely look out over the city. 

A couple members of our group had paid to go on a “Sound of Music” tour that would take them to many of the places relevant to the Von Trapp family and the making of the movie.  Their bus tour would take them about four hours, so the rest of us decided to walk to one of the “Sound of Music” related houses that was within a reasonable distance.  On our way there, however, we took some odd turns and ended up walking through a small neighborhood with a couple farms.  There were all kinds of cows, chickens, and goats, and we did see one animal we didn’t expect to see:  a flamingo.  Correction:  it was a whole flock of flamingos! We heard some loud noises and when we looked through a gap in some bushes we saw a whole flock of flamingos, pink and squaking.  It was truly one of the last things I expected to see in Austria.  After wandering by some beautiful houses, we finally found the lake and the house we were looking for, only to meet up with our friends on the tour! Unfortunately we couldn’t tour the house, but we did get to see a wedding reception go inside. 

By the time we got back to the city center it was getting late in the afternoon, and we were tired from all the walking we had done, so we decided  to sit and enjoy the rest of the Brass and Woodwind festival until our friends got back from the tour.  Once they did, we met up and had a quick dinner of Kebab, then went to wander around the Mirabell Park and Garden, which was lovely even though you could definitely tell the gardens had only recently started seeing the summer sun. 

It was a wonderful day trip, and I hope I get to go back again before I leave!  I was so exhausted that I slept the entire train ride back that night though, and I was happy to be in Linz again. 

Wait I Have Classes? What Are They Again?


So… after traveling for two weeks it was pretty hard to get back to classes.  I’m not gonna lie, I’d been away for so long I didn’t even remember my schedule.  I showed up to my German class thirty minutes early the first day back because I thought it started at 8am and not 8:30.  As a result of the crazy amount of traveling and sight-seeing I did in those two weeks I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking that if I’m not going somewhere every weekend I’m not really taking advantage of the time I have here.  However, it’s actually been really nice to relax and do things around Linz on the weekends.  It’s been pleasant to hang out at the lake or go into the city to eat gelato and check out the open-air markets or even to just walk along the Danube. 

Unfortunately I can’t relax all the time.  I finished up some midterms a while ago, and now that I’m facing finals about a month from now I remember that I do have classes to take here! (Wow, what a thought.)  Hopefully I’ll get to travel a little bit more in Austria before I go, but I’ll always have Italy to look forward to the first week in July!  I had to try and sneak in one more European adventure before I left, and I’m so excited! 

One thing that Austria does excellently is holidays, and this has definitely increased my propensity to forget about classes, much to my detriment.  A while back we had a long weekend, and this coming week we have both Monday and Tuesday off, and the next week we have Friday off as well!  And since I don’t have classes on Thursdays that makes for another four-day weekend!  This definitely hasn’t helped my work ethic, as I would much rather shop in the city or lay by the lake on our off days. 

Thinking about finals makes me realize how little time I have left here.  I can only imagine how strange it will be to come back to the States to see familiar faces and places that I haven’t seen or been to in so long.  I’m definitely excited, but I will be sad to go and leave the amazing places and the wonderful people here.  All the more reason to enjoy the time I have left here!

Tips for Apartment and Dorm-Style Living


So you’re in college and you live in a dorm? Or maybe you’re out on your own in a nice apartment?  Maybe you have neighbors that just live really close to you?  Well if you live in any of these situations you know that living in a dormitory or apartment style residence can, obviously, pose some challenges and issues.  However, it’s my personal belief that as long as everyone can have some basic common courtesy we can all live together like a little happy family.  And then after getting a little more experience out in the world I came to my senses and realized that sort of common courtesy is really rare.

Long story short:  if you live in bulk housing you’re going to encounter people that have less than their fair share of courtesy, especially concerning… Noise! Dun dun dun…. So what can you do when you have noisy neighbors?

A very common problem people in dormitories or apartment buildings have to deal with is noise, and anyone who has ever lived in such a space knows this.  Recently, I had an experience with excessive amounts of noise.  Usually noise doesn’t bother me and I tune it out easily, but this time the noise happened to be drunk people noise from 3am to 5am on a Thursday night (technically Friday morning).  I had the pleasure of listening to needlessly long, drunken conversation shouted between people in the parking lot outside my window and some people I believe who were leaning out the windows on the 5th or 6th floor of my building (“Where’s Saaaaam?” “Hey are you coming or not?” “Hold on I need to get my bag.”  “We’re going now so hurry up!”  “Where’s SAAAAAM?” “Come on let’s go!” and so on.)  This went on for a while until they finally quieted down.  I was drifting between consciousness and blissful sleep when I awoke with a start to the return of the cavalry! Again, more shouted conversation, and when that was over I thought I’d finally be able to get some sleep when I heard soundtrack to Grease being blasted from the same said window.  I actually really like Grease, so it wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that it was 5am and I needed to get up for class in two hours. 

Luckily, this hasn’t happened since, and I’ve been able to sleep as soundly as I need to on the weeknights.  This is a pretty rare example, but if you have noise problems where you live, what should you do?
1.     Complaining is always an option, but I prefer talking to people myself first.  If you know who’s making the noise, and if you ask them nicely and politely (trying really hard not to let it slip how full of rage you may be), there’s a big possibility that they will quiet down or at least remember for next time.  (I know it’s really hard not to come home like a screaming maniac when you’re drunk, but people have been able to, believe it or not, come home without waking up the entire building.  So I know it’s possible.)
2.     Since you may not always know that people making the racket, finding them may be an issue.  If the noise is continuous night after night and you are really suffering from it, then an official complaint where possible may be appropriate.
3.     Making as much noise as the other people rarely works and just makes other innocent people angry, so don’t do it. 
4.     You can always just suck it up.  People like to have fun and blow off steam, and I totally support that! If the noise is only occasional and doesn’t cause you any long-lasting psychological or ear-related damage, just let it roll off.  That’s what I usually do.  (Unless the noise is Justin Bieber or Nickelback related – then we’re gonna fight.) Noise hasn’t been an excessive problem here for me, so I take this one incident in stride and consider it a funny story to share with people later. 


So there it is! Not at all comprehensive and only half serious, I hope this at least gives people some options about how to deal with problems involving noise in their living situations.  I have been so lucky to have a pretty wonderful living situation, but I know that’s not the case for everyone.  So here’s to all of us that have the joy of living in dormitories!! Most of the time the good and the fun outweigh the bad and the irritating, so chin up!

Day 7: Stirling Castle and Church of the Holy RudeDay 7: Stirling Castle and Church of the Holy Rude

Day 7 Reflections:
Everyday has been warm and uncharacteristically Scottish until today, which was cloudy and chilly. At least we finally got to make use of our jackets! We walked just up the hill to the grandiose Stirling Castle with ancient walls with fading yellow bricks and large, crumbling statues just beyond the old iron gates. On the tour, we learned many interesting facts about the old castle, such as the names of each room and how some courtyards received their names. We sang in the Great Hall, which was the largest hall in its day. Its oak ceiling looked like the belly of a ship and it contained five large fireplaces. The choir collected directly in front of the king and queen’s head table for the concert and began collecting a crowd. Some of our Heart of Scotland choir friends made an appearance as well. The rest of the crowd consisted of other tourists and tour groups that trickled in and out of the hall during the service.
After the concert in the Great Hall, we were free to tour the rest of the castle and go eat. The entire town of Stirling has cobbled stoned streets and older buildings, which give the town a unique and historical atmosphere. Later we met at the Church of the Holy Rude for our second concert of the day, which is also just down the road from our hotel. It is an ancient church with large stained glass windows adorning every wall. It must have been built around the same time as the great hall, for its ceiling also resembled the belly of a ship.
The Heart of Scotland Choir members are slowly becoming Maryville College concert choir groupies because they showed up to this concert as well and have promised to attend tomorrow’s concert. The church provided beautiful acoustics for the music and the crowd loved it. There is no greater feeling than bringing joyous smiles to a crowd through song.
We returned to our hotel for a couple hours of down time before dinner. We are tired from all the traveling, but the spirit of Scotland is all the motivation we need.
~Sarah Bohlman

Today began with chilly and misty weather more like what we were expecting from Scotland.  We visited the incredible Stirling Castle, which has been filled up to look, as it would have in olden days.  We had a short look around the garden and inside.  The experience helped show more of Scotland’s rich history; the castle was home to King James IV and V.  We performed in the Great Hall and were delighted to see some of the members of the Heart of Scotland Choir there!  It was after our performance, many of us stayed to enjoy the castle for a while longer before eating lunch.  Then, this afternoon, we performed in the beautiful medieval Church of the Holy Rude.  This was possibly our best and most emotional performance yet.  There were tears in our eyes as well as those in the audiences.  The phenomenal acoustics in the building made our intense songs such as “In Remembrance,” even more intense.  Again, we were very happy to see even more Heart of Scotland Choir members there, some of whom also came to the morning performance.  They stood with us and sang the Lutkin Benediction, which was a tremendous treat.  When we processed out of the church to the bagpipes, everyone was smiling and clapping joyfully.  Today’s performance was truly an amazing one that touched many people.  We will never forget it.  We left the church feeling very happy.  We then had some free time before yet another delicious meal, this time, with the alumni.  We talked and ate together, and will all go to bed peacefully.  All in all, a truly wonderful day.
~Cecily Babb


Iona Abbey Choir Performance, Video
Scone Palace Choir Performance, Video
(The videos above are on the Maryvile College Division of Fine Arts Facebook Page)

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