After nearly three weeks of daily individual practice, sectionals, and full rehearsals, daily morning class sessions, and the long trip over the Atlantic, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra is now waking up to our first full day in Europe and our first concert tonight.
The trip up to the airport on Wednesday morning was slow because of traffic and weather conditions, but once we got ourselves, our luggage, instruments, and equipment hauled into the airport and up to the check-in gate, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way here. (Two of the cabin staff on our first flight commented on how well behaved, and how well dressed, our group of college students were.)
Our two tour guides, Annamária from Budapest and Karel from Prague, were waiting for us at the airport, along with Hans-Peter and Rainer, our bus drivers. They took us down to the main square, where we had about two hours to start exploring and get some lunch. As they started telling us about this country, past and present, it was very helpful and also at least somewhat familiar since we had discussed some of the things they talked about in our morning class sessions earlier this month. After checking in to our wonderful hotel and crashing for a bit, we gathered for a sumptuous buffet dinner and then settled down for a “long winter’s night.”
Today after breakfast, we will head back to downtown for a walking guided tour of Prague, including the castle with its monumental cathedral and the Charles bridge. Then, the moment we have been anticipating and which is the focus of our whole endeavor, we will arrive at Sts. Simon & Jude to set up, rehearse, and perform our first concert. This is an exciting venue, one where GWO has performed twice before, and I personally can’t wait to share this experience with this new group of student musicians. (Click the link below to see the poster for our first concert tonight.)