Music Tour 2017

Music Tour 2017

Music Tour

On the 2nd of July, twenty Westerfordians, accompanied by Mr. le Roux and Mrs. Penny and their respective spouses, set off for Cape Town International Airport. This group consisted of Grade 10 and 11 subject and non-subject Music pupils, about to go on the Music tour. Our first stop was to be Disentis, Switzerland. After a twenty-hour flight and a three-hour train ride, we finally made it!

By the time we arrived in Disentis, it was quite late, and we were all a little tired, motion-sick, and jet-lagged, yet we still had to climb up the mountain and all the stairs to get to the school where our host families were waiting for us. At the school we were given food, a tour, and met our host families. Sina Darms and Sarina Caduff, who came to Westerford last year on an exchange program, both attend this school and hosted three of our “tourists”. We had a barbecue that night before going home with our hosts. The following day was filled with going to their classes, going on the cable-car up to the ski-lift and touring through the town. That evening we performed a concert for them, showing off our best musicians on the tour. This was followed by a hike down to a campsite by the ravine where we enjoyed dinner together.

The next day we were off to France! It took an entire day to get to Colmar (the inspiration behind the setting of the new Beauty and the Beast film) and we achieved this through hopping from one train to the next, and finally enjoyed a bus ride for the last few hours into France. Special mention to Mrs. Penny for understanding German so we knew when to go where!

In Colmar we were privileged to watch two evening performances by the Russian National Orchestra and Choir, and a lunch-time concert by a violin and piano duo; both were extremely beautiful. During the daytime we were given an excellent walking tour in which we learnt so much. We also shopped at the local markets and went on a small boat-ride down Little Venice, a river that runs through the most beautiful part of Colmar. Later we were able to visit the Unterlinden Museum.

Then we were off to Würzburg, Germany for two nights. On the first day we went on a free tour of the Mainfranken Theatre, wonderfully arranged by BP Mom (our nickname for Mrs. Penny) who is old-time friends with some people in their orchestra. Later on we watched Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd-Webber (a Westerford classic!) in the same theatre. Although it was written in English, the musical was in German! All the same, it was wonderfully done and we were all super-impressed with the lady conductor of the orchestra. The next day was jam-packed with shopping, watching a festival showing off German family history, and going through the Würzburg Residence. That night we watched the Opera Nabucco by Verdi.

Next stop: Munich! On the way there, however, the tour stopped at Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber (a medieval walled city) and Neuschwanstein Castle. Finally we arrived at Munich and came just in time to see fire works the first night! On the second day we had a lovely walking tour of the city by a very enthusiastic tour guide and did some more shopping. That night was a highlight for most of us: Mozart’s Don Giovanni! The next day we headed off to Salzburg, Austria.

Salzburg: the home of The Sound of Music! Our Sound of Music tour took up the whole of our first day. We were able to see all the places where they filmed and we were even able to buy Eidelweis. After the tour, we visited the gardens where they filmed ‘Do Rey Me’, which were really gorgeous. The next day included a walking tour of the city - guided by our very own BP Mom - some more shopping, and a dinner and concert at the Fortress Hohensalzburg.

Vienna was next on the itinerary! In Vienna we were lucky enough to visit the biggest open-air/floating stage theatre in the world! After the performance there were even fireworks! On the second day we went on a walking tour through the city. We went to the gardens, the musician’s walk of fame, and went on a tour of the Vienna Opera House. Some of our group  are now able to say that they sang on the Vienna Opera House Stage! That night we visited the Prata, the oldest amusement park in the world. I think every Music Tour member can say that this was definitely one of the best nights of the whole trip. On our last day in Vienna, we went to the Haus der Musik (House of Music) which is an interactive museum about music and sound – we were even able to conduct the virtual Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra!

Our final stop was Budapest, a lovely city split by the Danube River. In Budapest we were given a walking tour of the city, visited the Buda Castle, and saw the Dohány Street Synagogue. Later that day we visited the Shoe Memorial, a beautiful memorial dedicated to the Jews who lost their lives on the Danube River banks during WW2. That night was filled with Jazz and a fancy three-course meal we had all been craving! (By then we were very sick of bread and Bretzels). On our final day we took a boat trip around Marion Island and did some last-minute shopping at the Great Market Hall.

At last it was time to say goodbye to Europe, our home for the past fifteen days. It was sad to leave, and to know that our Music Tour family was soon to be broken up, but we were all looking forward to seeing our families back at home, and our beds. Thank you again to BP Mom and her husband, and Mr. Le Roux and his wife for accompanying us on this spectacular, once-in-a-life-time opportunity.

Megan Creswell, Grade 11