The Walled Lake High School Orchestras recently toured Austria and the Czech Republic as part of the American Celebration of Music in Europe Concert Series.
Ted McDonald, the orchestra director at Walled Lake Western High School, had the following comments about the experience.
How pleased were you with the following performance experiences?
Morning workshop at the Dommusik in Salzburg with Professor Josef Wallnig of Mozarteum University
Wonderful; great way to start the trip.
Performance in the Orangerie
How can you do it better? Playing where Mozart played? Fantastic.
Concert at Haydn Church in Esterhazy Palace
This was maybe my favorite venue. It was like we played in a work of art.
Concert in the Church of St. Simon and Judah
Probably my favorite overall concert. Excellent acoustics,
fantastic audience, and the students played their best!
How pleased were you with your Tour Manager, Karel Schneider and Sebastian Sukow?
It was great to have the old and new school perspectives. I dealt with Karel more, but I know Sebastian did a fantastic job as well. They were knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and had a great sense of humor. Sebastian even helped out a student who was having money troubles. I was extremely impressed and wouldn’t hesitate to ask for both of them again if I travel there in the future.
This [Haydn Church] was maybe my favorite venue. It was like we played in a work of art.
How were your interactions with the MCI team you worked with, Amy Hargreaves and Cindy Petty?
Wonderful. Professional, helpful, and willing to work with participants that were late with passports, forms, etc. I truly appreciate their patience.
How did the transportation on this tour meet your needs?
Motorcoaches: Excellent. Clean, lots of room, plenty of space for instruments and luggage.
Motorcoach Drivers: Extremely helpful and FANTASTIC drivers. They also knew all the ways to avoid traffic jams.
How pleased were you with your accommodations?
Hotel Salzburg West
This was a great place. Great breakfast eating area and rooms were very nice.
Very nice rooms. I liked the layout of the hotel as well; it was easy to check on the rooms. Again, breakfast area was fantastic.
Hotel Crowne Plaza Prague
I didn’t like the layout of this one as much. However, the restaurant was probably the best of the three.
I just couldn’t believe I was there half the time. I think the students felt the same way.
How pleased were you with the meal arrangements?
Dinner at Hotel Salzburg West
Very “American”, but it was still tasty.
Good way to introduce the local cuisine to the students.
Dinner at Hotel Bosei
Dinner at the home of Dr. Jutta Unkart-Seifert
Wonderful; it was so nice for her to have us over.
Excellent, this was a very nice place and probably one of my favorite meals.
Dinner at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Prague
Was so surprised how good this hotel food was! Excellent!
What was your personal highlight? What was the highlight for the performers?
Definitely the 3 concerts. Especially Esterhazy & Prague. I just couldn’t believe I was there half the time. I think the students felt the same way.
Overall, how pleased were you with the sightseeing?
Extremely pleased! It was a great overall tour of Austria and Prague.
Follow this link to learn more about the American Celebration of Music in Ireland concert series.