Finding Sanctuary in the Salzburg Cathedral

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The Hodgson Singers have had a fantastic day. Let me tell you what happened.

This afternoon we sang a concert in the Salzburg Cathedral. This is the most spectacular construction I have ever seen! Also, it is where Mozart was baptized. Hopefully now you understand the importance of this event.

I will start by telling you what happened to me earlier in the day. After having ZERO hours of sleep (this whole traveling across the globe thing is not agreeing with me) I decided that it would be a good idea to hike up a mountain. While the experience was totally worth it, as it was the most awe-inspiring view, I was very worried about how my body and voice would handle the afternoon concert. It was probably the most special opportunity I had ever encountered as a singer, yet I didn’t think I was going to be able to sing. Also, everyone was tired… and jetlagged… and sore. Was this opportunity going to be tarnished by a rough performance?

We rehearsed for a little while, and I was left slightly more encouraged. We walked to the cathedral for the first time, stood for some moments in silent amazement, and finally found our places on risers that were on the side of the space (choirs traditionally perform in the side wing of this cathedral, rather than the middle altar space). Then, we gave a “teaser” performance in the square outside the cathedral, thereby drawing a HUGE crowd of extremely impressed people.

Then things got a lot better…

Our host, who was the organist and key-keeper for the cathedral, ran to meet us coming in from our “teaser”. Frantically he was saying “You must move to the alter! Not on the side! Sing in the middle!” Confused, I stopped to listen to him, and quietly, he said “This choir needs to be closer to God.”

They never do that.

So we quickly made our new formation in the front of the cathedral, and we sang. We sang our hearts out. The audience received our heart and our voices with open arms, loud applause, wide eyes, broad smiles, tears of joy, and many, many video cameras.

It. Was. Awesome.

After our concert we met our host again. Hosts usually don’t sit through entire concerts of guest artists, but he did. He spoke so highly of our singing, Dr. Bara’s artistic and touching construction of our pieces, and our overall stunning presentation. He was so touched, in fact, that he wanted to offer us a gift in return for our gift to him.

They never do this either.

Our host took us to a room in the cathedral that wasn’t open to the public. It was the oldest room in the church, filled with valuable and historical ornamentation. He then took us in small groups to the organ loft (another place where most people don’t go) to watch him play a very old and very beautiful organ. I honestly don’t think I have been so honored.

Because I wasn’t in the best voice, I was convinced that this experience was not going to live up to my expectations. But, at the times in the concert when I couldn’t sing, the notes were still present because my beautiful friends were there to pick up the slack. This is something that I love about being in a choir: the idea that we can be better together than we’d ever be alone. Even though I wasn’t at my best, the choir made something amazing.

Olivia Sue Green

Olivia S. Greene

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