GWO in Europe 2010 – Day 9, Leaving & Returning

Posted on February 1st, 2010 by

Day 9

To leave is both to depart and to leave something behind.

To return is to go back and to give something back.

Day 9 brings us to the end of our time in Poland. The country and its people have been very good to us for the third time, and while excitement is high for the continuation of our adventure, our departure is somewhat bittersweet. We wonder when we will answer the invitations to return to the land of Krakow, Kety, Wroclaw, Bielsco Biala, Ciesyn and Hradec Kralov and Krak, the dragon slayer. We will remember with great sadness our time in Auschwitz and Birkenau and with great wonder the palaces, castles and cathedrals we have visited. The double meaning of the infinitive “to leave” is evident as we load the buses for the ride south on this snowy morning. As we prepare to leave Poland, we hope that with our gift of music we leave as much with Poland as we are taking with us and we hope that we will return soon.

As bittersweet as the departure from Poland is, the anticipation of our return to Hungary grows as we start south through Slovakia. The cold that has been with us for days has turned to snow, creating a beautifully clean winter wonderland. The beauty of the region is masked somewhat by the heavy snowfall that follows us south but the enthusiasm of the ensemble is not dampened. There are cheers as we cross into Slovakia and then again as we enter Hungary.

The wind orchestra’s first visit to Budapest in 1994 introduced it to a beautiful city and the community of musicians in Pomaz creating a music school for its children. In 1994, those children and the school were very young. Both are now grown and it is exciting to return and see the changes. As we leave the instruments in the school’s concert hall, the Pomaz Wind Orchestra is in rehearsal making final preparations for the next evening’s concert. Perhaps something from our visit in 1994 remained behind for some of the faces are familiar. Some of the children from 1994 are now sitting in the principal chairs in the Pomaz Wind Orchestra.

It has taken 16 years to return. It doesn’t feel like its been that long but it is good to be back.


One Comment

  1. DiAnne Mowrey says:

    Al, I am so enjoying travelling Europe with you through this blog. I look forward to checking in every day to see what amazing piece of history you will share with us. What a wonderful experience for the young people on this trip. Thank you for taking the time to keep us up to date through your blog!