The Early Bird Gets the Worm (if the Worm is an Awesome Singing Experience)

A2 Melk Abbey

This morning began with the earliest wakeup call we have yet to receive on this trip, which proved to be rather difficult to answer as many singers were enjoying the cultures of Salzburg last night.  Thus you could say that the 6 am call was a bit of a rude awakening–I personally had to answer and hang up the phone three times because my grogginess so persistently impaired my success.

Despite our collective exhaustion, we somehow managed to get every singer awake, onto the bus, and over to Melk Abbey.  At this point we were all beginning to feel the effects of many attempts to sleep on a bus over the last several days, so we were moving a bit sluggishly.  However, I don’t think any of us had trouble enjoying the tour of the beautiful monastery in Melk, partially due to yet another excellent tour guide.  (Side note! It is incredible to me that so many people along this trip have been so proficient in English that they were able to not only relate the history of these monuments but make jokes through each explanation.  Impressive.)

In all honesty, I thought there was some chance that the effect of first walking into a cathedral would maybe wear off at some point on this trip.  So far that has not been the case; every single room that we have entered has been an entirely new and awe-inspiring experience.  With this particular cathedral, I was simply blown away by the sheer amount of gold that accented and lined the room.  Each cathedral, including that of Melk, has been astounding with the consistency of detail in the architecture.  It has been an honor to walk the halls of these cathedrals, let alone to be invited to sing in any of them.

This singing experience was rather different from the others of the trip, and I am super excited to be able to write about it because so far I’ve only been scheduled to write about bus rides…  Today we began without a warmup, which we have done before, but possibly not when we were also enduring jet lag and bus rides and somewhat consistent sleep deprivation, so some of us thought this performance might be a bit of a struggle.  We first sang Vere Languores, and though our voices may have been tired, it was unsurprising that the music echoed so beautifully throughout the hall.  The real reward here though was singing Crucem Tuam.  For whatever reason, during this piece we seemed to connect and feel the presence of the monastery in a way that we have not in exactly this way before.  It felt more like we were singing for just ourselves, for our musical and emotional benefit as a choir, rather than performing for a crowd of Austrian strangers.  We were all so into this piece that almost the entire group was in tears by the end of the piece, and for several seconds after the final cadence, we all stood stationary at the front of the room, unwilling to leave the experience behind just yet.

It amazes me that every space and every piece in which we sing can have a completely different meaning and feeling.  Hopefully the singers currently around me having Internet issues in the lobby will take charge and go to sleep soon so that we can continue to make beautiful music in the competition tomorrow!

Bring it on, Baden.

Melody Hine

Melody Hine


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