Our Concert Experience

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We Can’t ‘Händel’ The Fun We’re Having!

Sorry for the delay in posting! We had some connectivity issues, but will be updating you about the last two days throughout today. 

We left Berlin early Tuesday morning to head to the beautiful city of Halle. It was quite a long drive from Berlin, about two-three hours, so most of us slept on the bus. Those of us who didn’t sleep enjoyed the German countryside. 

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After arriving in Halle, our first and main destination was the Händel Haus! As all of us have played at least one piece by Händel, including a Wind Symphony performance of ‘The Royal Fireworks,’ it was quite an amazing opportunity to experience the house where this great composer was born.

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Original Sheet Music for the Royal Fireworks

The Händel museum was full of amazing facts and artifacts from Händel’s lifetime. Students enjoyed viewing original copies of Händel’s sheet music, and one student, Gyasu Bajracharya, had the opportunity to play on a harpsichord and organ from Händel’s period. 

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One of Händel’s Harpsichords

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Gyasu playing piano in Smetana Hall 

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The museum didn’t just have information on Händel, however, it also had a great collection of period instruments. Students enjoyed exploring the collection and spotting early versions of their instrument.

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After we left the Händel Haus, students had the opportunity to explore the city of Halle for lunch. Most students headed to the town square where there were a variety of food trucks available.

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After lunch, we loaded the bus once more and headed to Leipzig. After checking into the hotel, students gathered their things and loaded the bus to head to our concert location at the Gewandhaus in Mendelssohn Hall, home of the world-famous Leipzig orchestra. It was quite an amazing opportunity for our ensemble to perform in such a fantastic and historical space. 

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The ensemble was very pleased with our playing after the concert. The German people who came to see us greatly enjoyed our performance, so much so that some of them asked for Dr. McCutcheon and Dr. Marx’s autographs! Students could not have been happier with the quality of their work.

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After the performance, we headed to a restaurant for a late dinner before heading to the hotel for bed. Stay tuned to hear about our next adventure in Leipzig on Wednesday! 

Berlin: Complete!

Our one full day in Berlin was a success! We started the day going to breakfast at 7:30am with a 8:15am departure for our tour of Berlin.

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Soon after driving to the center of Berlin, we met with our tour guide Tim. He was quite the character! It was very interesting to hear about Berlin from the perspective of someone who lives here, and he had a good sense of humor!

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Tim took us to a multitude of sites, including but not limited to the Brandenburg Gate, remnants of the Berlin Wall, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and many others. It was quite an incredible experience for all of us, especially since the majority of our group has never been here before.

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After our tour, we headed down for a cruise along the river. Everyone was excited to welcome back Patrick Peters, a student who was competing in the National Trumpet Competition in Texas. It was quite an honor for him to be chosen to compete, and the ensemble couldn’t be prouder of his efforts. Patrick met us at the dock after flying from Dallas to Newark and then to Berlin all by himself. Can you believe it’s his first time out of the country?

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The river cruise was an incredible experience for all. Tim gave interesting commentary as we cruised through the river taking in the sites of Berlin from a perspective we could not experience from the streets.

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After our cruise, we had some time to explore Berlin on our own and get lunch before loading the bus to go to our first concert venue. We drove about an hour and a half outside Berlin to a small church called St. Jakobikirche in Luckenwalde. The church members who met us there were incredibly kind, greeting us with food that included the best homemade tomato soup many of us have ever had, muffins, bread, cheese, and coffee and tea. At the start of our performance, the congregation also gifted us with portable tupperware that had gummy bears inside. The ensemble was quite touched by their warmth and kindness.

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Once the concert was over, we headed back to our hotel in Berlin for a late dinner and bed. It’s our last night in Berlin, so tomorrow we’re loading the buses and heading to Leipzig! Follow us tomorrow!

Want to see more of our photos? Check out our flickr page!  

We finally arrived in Berlin!

Today we arrived at the Munich airport around 1:15pm GMT to transfer flights and finally arrived in Berlin at 3:30pm GMT.

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Thankfully no ones luggage had gotten lost. Everyone was still tired from jet lag as we boarded our Coach Bus for an wonderful, scenery tour around the city of Berlin.

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Tonight we enjoyed a buffet dinner in our hotel. There wasn’t a lot of variety, but it was still very interesting to see some of the foods the hotel put out such as pickled beets and an interesting version of potato salad.

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With a few exceptions, every participant is in a room with one other person. Compared to typical American hotels where students often share queen-sized beds when on school trips, it was a nice discovery for many that each student is given their own twin bed. We have to admit, they’re not the same as our Gettysburg extra-long twins, but they’re still extremely comfortable!

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Tonight, everyone has the rest of the night to relax and hang out with friends. Stay tuned for tomorrows escapades of Berlin and our first concert!

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Want to see more photos from our trip? Check out our flickr page! 

On Our Way!

After our final rehearsal in America, we all ran home for last minute packing and (for some of us literally) ran back to Schmucker to load the bus at 5:30pm.

P1010097.JPGFor some of us, this is our first time flying internationally. Interestingly enough, everyone has flown on a plane before so airport security was a breeze! Still, it was a new experience for those who have never used a passport for their ID before!

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For our trip, we are flying out of Dulles International Airport. Our plane will depart at 10:30pm EST and will land in Munich Airport at 12:45pm GMT. From Munich, we will fly at 2:00pm GMT to Berlin where we will land at 3:10pm GMT.

Right now, we are all anxiously awaiting to board our flight. As we are taking a red-eye, it is not crowded within the airport. We arrived here around 7:30pm so we had plenty of time to stretch our legs and get food before we board our seven hour flight!

P1010100P1010106.JPGP1010115.JPGOur next post will be from Germany! We are ecstatic, and cannot wait to keep you all updated! Until then, Auf Wiedersehen!

Want to see more photos? Check out our flickr page!

It’s Our Last Day In The States!

Tour has officially begun with the beginning of Gettysburg College spring break, and the band couldn’t be more excited! Less than 24 hours before we take off, the band met in Schmucker Hall for a tour meeting before rehearsal. Students were excited to welcome back alumni Andrew Mahoney, parents Mike and Debbie Hall, and Conservatory Director Dr. S. Kay Hoke to our group.

P1010038P1010034After a very informative meeting, the band went into Paul Recital Hall for our second to last rehearsal. Can you believe this is only our tenth rehearsal? We can’t!

P1010041.JPGP1010040.JPGOur ensemble has one more (four hour) rehearsal tomorrow before we load buses and head to Dulles Airport for our 10pm flight. Wish us luck, and stay tuned for more updates!

 

Want to see more photos from our trip? Check out our flickr page!

 

 

Only Ten More Days!!!

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Wind Symphony Berlin-Leipzig-Prague or BLP Tour blog! For this trip, the blog will be run by Bethany Frankel ’20, Melanie Greenberg ’20, and Maya Johnson ’21. We’re all extremely excited to leave for the trip in ten days (!!!) and have been working hard getting our repertoire ready for the trip. We’ll begin doing our daily blogs the day before the tour, March 9th, 2018. See you then!