Thursday, June 21, 2012
Day 6 - tour of Prague and Concert 2
Day 6 - tour of Prague This was a long hot day but we made it. The day started with a bus ride into the town of Prague. Our tour guide pointed out just about every building and there were many stories. Almost too many. Stories starting from 900 AD all the way up to the end of Communists rule in the 20th century. Every building had a history. Our walking tour started at the bottom of the hill and we slowly walked our way up to the castle and Saint Vitus. Beautiful but very crowded. There were tour groups everywhere. Luckily we were wearing our blue tour shirts and you could spot GDYO members easily. It was hard to hear the guide at times but overall I think everybody learned a little of something about a lot of stuff. We walked through the old town - up and down and finally came to the Charles Bridge ending at the Astronomical Clock. And again, people everywhere. We were warned to watch out for the pick-pocketers as this was where they would be. GDYO did well, not a single thing lost or stolen. We had an hour break for lunch in groups and then met up to go to the rehearsal at the hall. It's a beautiful space and I will talk more about it in my review of the concert. After rehearsal it was off to dinner. We crammed into a small restaurant and were served - ham wrapped with cream cheese and onion. It was different and I'm not sure how many people liked it. For the main course, we had chicken, potatoes and small salad and dessert was a wafer cookie with whipped cream. The kids found the meal to be okay. Everyone tried to find something they liked and we all discussed the secret ingredients. We headed off to the concert. We got back to the hotel later then we wanted as the loading of the truck took awhile. Poor Patrick had his work cut out for him. The elevator up to the stage was very small and would usually only hold one, maybe two things as it had to be operated by someone from the venue. I would guess it took 20 trips or more to get all the stuff up. But he had a great crew of GDYO parents and students and staff from the venue. All were very tired after our day and as I write this we are on the way to Litomsyl and I think they are all asleep. These kids are working hard and doing a great job. And the chaperones are magnificent. Everyone is running on little sleep but pulling together to create some amazing things. Concert 2 After a very hot day and lots of walking, the GDYO had to perform their second concert. Many of them kept telling me they didn't think they would make it. But I knew they would and they did. Another fabulous performance! The hall is Baroque in style. Two beautiful chandeliers hang from the ceiling, decorated in gold with leaves and flowers. A large balcony wraps around the building which is a perfect square. The ceiling is decorated in paintings of gods and the windows are round with small angels around them. To see an 80 piece orchestra is truly breath-taking. You can just imagine people dancing around the wooden floors. GDYO started once again with the Dvorak. There were some lovely solos from the winds and the Concertmaster, Samantha Guu and Principal Second, Hannah Price. The audience loved it, although this audience is much different than the Munich audience. I would say much more reserved. Next they did the Copland and once again the American sounds filled this 19th century hall and it was fitting. Tonight instead of performing the Xi Wang they did Capriccio Espanyol. Very nice solo from Aakash Patel on violin. Orchestra took us to Spain and I think all the audience enjoyed the trip. It is a very quiet and reserved audience but every so often I will see someone sit up in their chair. I'm up in the balcony and people keep standing to get a look. There are many smiles. Intermission And now onto to Pictures at an Exhibition It is such a hard piece and I keep getting impressed with how well they play. I'm watching the audience throughout the performance and their eyes are glued to the orchestra. It's quite intense. I think I may have even seen a few tears. Encores Nimrod - lovely and moving - a few kids thought that was the highlight of the evening They ended with Overture to Candide and a standing ovation.