They say to expect the unexpected, but how can you prepare for something you aren’t thinking about? The act of preparing for it automatically makes it the expected. It would be more fitting if they said “expect change.” Expect things to be different than you planned.
I planned a lot of things for this trip, and I can honestly say that I don’t think any of them turned out quite like what I expected. I planned on more sleep, cooler weather, and less walking. I planned on more comfortable flights and more internet access. I even planned (and printed out) a blog posting schedule.
I was overconfident. But more importantly, I was short-sighted.
This trip has exceeded every one of my expectations. Our first night in Prague we saw Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the opera house where it first premiered. Beautiful weather in Salzburg allowed many of us to visit the Alps and discover just how small we really are. For our concert in Salzburg Cathedral we were told to bypass the choral risers and perform in front of the altar because our host believed our music to be so beautiful that we “needed to be closer to God.” And who could have imagined such an incredible win at Baden’s International Choral Competition Ave Verum?
Dr. Bara told us when we had memorized all our music that we had created something that would only ever be ours. No other choir will ever learn this music for these reasons and interpret it in this particular way. And it’s true—we have created something special that now has to come to a close. The 2014 ICC AV champion will never sing again. Already our group has begun to disperse: four of our number stayed in Europe, four flew in to Atlanta yesterday, and once we land at 2:50 today everyone else will go their separate ways. And while some of us may be back next year, the rest will have grad school, jobs, or other activities that will prevent them from rejoining the UGA Hodgson Singers.
We’ve given our closing concert, performed our last piece, and sung our final notes.
As we head to the end of our little adventure, all I can say is thank you to the many family members and friends who helped us get here. The experiences on this trip have been more than any of us could have hoped for. Our music and our friendships have only grown stronger. And even though we will never again be in the same place with the same people for the same purpose, I know each and every one of us will treasure these last few days together.
Thanks and my very best to you all,