What an incredible experience this has been for us all. When planning this trip almost two years ago, it was my hope that we would get a keen group of singers who were willing to work hard to create a beautiful sound, learn an extensive list of repertoire and who were open minded about the adventures of traveling this beautiful part of the world.
I can honestly say, that as with all of my experiences in music at CGGS to date, that my expectations have again been seriously exceeded. Travelling with this group of young musicians has been a highlight of my time at the school.
It’s not always easy living in each other’s pockets for twp weeks, adding in the pressure that comes with performing at a high level, being away from home and dealing with jet lag, but all of the girls showed great character, resilience and care for one another in the way they carried themselves and represented our school and country on tour.
Musically, it was quite a challenge for a small and relatively young and inexperienced group of singers to pull together the music for a tour of this nature. But yet again, they rose to our expectations and achieved what many of them thought we couldn’t at the beginning of this journey.
To stand and sing in some of the most iconic performance venues in the world for complete strangers and bring them to tears is something truly special and I hope it is these moments that stay with the girls for many years to come. To achieve 2 silver awards in the competition in Bratislava was a well-deserved (albeit unexpected) reward for their hard work and dedication to achieving our collective goals! I haven’t been more proud than at that moment on stage when they read out our schools name!
We have all learnt a lot about each other and ourselves on this trip. The idea of teamwork is at its strongest when performing in a choir/music ensemble, however, the most special moments for me were seeing some of the older students looking after the younger girls. We have such a flourishing community at CGGS and especially amongst our music family and it filled me with absolute joy to see our girls caring for each other, and the staff each and every day we were away.
To our girls - congratulations and thank you! Thank you for the care you took of each other, thank you for your hard work and persistence during rehearsals and performances but most of all thank you for sharing your love of music and singing with me and each and every member of our audiences in Europe!
Thank you also to our wonderful parents and families for giving your daughters this opportunity. It was touch and go for numbers at the start but we were so thrilled to be able to get together a group of young girls who could sing beautifully together for the tour.
The trip wouldn’t have been possible without our wonderful staff and helpers Jenny, Phil and Sue who were amazing on the tour. Big thanks also to Lisa Christie for the huge amount of admin support that was required to get the trip off the ground.
I hope the excitement from this trip will find its way back into our other Music Academy ensembles and that we have even more interest in our next international music tour in a couple of years time.
If you would like to read more about the European Choir Tour, click here to read the blog.
Dean of Music
Emma McMaster (Year 10)
The best experience of the trip for me was actually singing; our first performance in Budapest was amazing. The acoustic in the church was astonishing! It really helped me understand the importance of projection when it comes to singing - especially solos.
I enjoyed seeing the artwork and the landscapes of the environment. I bought a painting of the city every place I went to. It was such great experience to see how other civilisations function; if we were in Australia, you would not see one artist sitting in the road drawing the beautiful city.
Lize Van der Walt (Year 9)
The Chorale Europe tour - where to begin? For some this was an opportunity to see a different part of the world, to eat some magnificent food, or to learn more about European culture. However, the most important part of this tour for all of us was the opportunity to explore Europe while performing and making music with old and new friends along the way.
One of the highlights of the trip was quite early - our second day in Europe, Budapest. It was in the afternoon, we had changed into our performance uniform, and entered the magnificent church where we were singing. While standing there preparing for our first performance and then subsequently performing it dawned on us that we were actually doing this. We were in Europe ... Doing what we love - singing ... All our hard work was starting to pay off.
Two days later we started to pick the fruit produced by our hard work. We had won two silver awards in the competition at the Bratislava music festival. We were so surprised but also very, very happy - exalted! This can definitely be described as one of the highlights of the trip.
Another highlight of the trip - we can all agree - was participating in the Summa Cum Laude music festival. During this festival we had the opportunity to sing in the amazing Golden Hall of the Musikverein and meet musicians from around the world. Some of the friends we made were from Australia, South Africa and Spain (just to mention a few). Having like-minded young people around us and just socialising and enjoying music with them was one of the most amazing experiences on tour!
This was only three of the many highlights of this wonderful trip. As you can see the Chorale Europe tour accomplished everything we came to Europe to do and more. We saw an amazing part of the world, ate some amazing food and learnt more about European culture and architecture. Most importantly we performed in some the most amazing venues in the world, making new friends and strengthening old bonds.
Ella Borgo (Year 10)
The Chorale European trip was by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever been a part of. Being part of such an amazing group of girls and performing in world renowned halls and churches was incredible! It was especially exciting to go to so many countries in one trip and be part of a completely new culture. Bella, Marie and myself made it out mission to find the best croissant out of all the places and after eating about 50 each we decided that the best was by far the chocolate croissants from the hotel in Budapest. Other than this, there are a few moments of the trip that stood out:
- My favourite place was Bratislava, in Slovakia, a place that is not very well heard of and very under rated. We especially loved the croissants, buffet breakfast, countless gelato places and not to mention the fact that we received 2 silver awards in the international music festival- an incredible achievement.
- Performing in so many famous places was also a definite highlight of the trip. Especially the golden hall in the Musikverein in Vienna, at mass in an amazing church outside of Vienna and also numerous impromptu concerts on the side of the street (a little bit embarrassing).
- The fun times we had were also definitely something that made the trip so amazing. These include, lots of karaoke and singing in the bus, trying all the types of food Europe has to offer and of course looking around all of the amazing cities we were so lucky to visit!
Overall, I am so grateful that I have had this opportunity to travel overseas especially with such a good group of girls in some of the most beautiful places in the world.