This spring The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities took the world stage on their performance tour of Central Europe. While I worked behind-the-scenes on the tour’s logistics, it was the institution itself that made the magic and overall success of the tour come to fruition.
The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts is a public, residential high school located in Greenville, South Carolina, which offers complete arts and academic curricula for gifted students from across the state. It was an absolute pleasure to work with their staff (Dr. David Rhyne, Dr. David L. Hamilton, and Dr. Stephen Taylor) whose passion for music and the students’ overall touring experience was evident throughout the planning process. They specifically requested that the tour’s purpose remain educational and that it focused on the composers who lived and worked in Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague. For that reason, Encore provided local guides who were the most knowledgeable of the area’s musical history.
Travel has many benefits built into it, but the intellectual, cultural, and musical connections can be missed if one does not know what to look for. Even something seemingly simple can have hidden gems in its history. Take the Prater, for instance. Many may not know that Mozart went there quite a bit during his career and it is where he drew much inspiration for his music. He talks about the Prater lovingly in of his correspondence letters and while writing his final work, the Requiem, he spent time with his wife in the Prater confiding to her that he was writing the Requiem for himself. This is the history that local guides can bring to life on a performance tour!
Alongside the sightseeing’s educational components, the group stressed the importance of collaboration on tour. Just four days into their performance tour, the group spent time outside Vienna and drove to the Biedermannsdorf school for an exchange and joint performance. Their lunch time was spent mingling with the local Austrian students before their joint rehearsal. At 2:30pm, all ensembles came together for their performance at Höhere Bundeslehranstalt für wirtschaftliche Biedermannsdorf! The performance was packed with over 170 people and quite a few standing. It was truly a beautiful collaboration and enjoyed by everyone, as displayed by the standing ovation! “Encore!”
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