"Surprise party" after the concert
Trip Start Jul 01, 2007
8Trip End Jul 10, 2007
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So after the concert, a host choir member arranged to meet the bus at a gas station just outside the city of Timisoara (about 20 minutes away) so that she could show us the way. We met up at about 10:30 (pm) and proceeded to follow her car along a side road, with the bus driver hesitating along the way. Finally we reached a stopping point and all got out of the bus - it was pitch dark - stars all over the sky but no moon yet - a beautiful night with a light breeze, mild temperatures, away from it all - we walked a little ways up a dirt road to a semi-paved road and asked in confusion what we were to do next
As it turned out, neither the tour guide or the host choir new until this moment that the bus was too big to drive right up to the restaurant without a 500 meter walk in this amazing, starry, moonless night. But with mutual support and the warm embrace of the mild night air, we began to pull each other together. Members of the host choir soon drove their cars down to us to pick up singers who needed a ride and the rest of us began our adventuresome stroll. Eventually we saw the lights of the restaurant ahead of us and members of the host choir at the door with plates of bread and salt, symbols of welcome to the banquet they had prepared with great effort. They were so apologetic and afraid that we would think less of Romanians as a result
When it was time to go, leaders from both groups shared translated thank you's, and we sang together again the spiritual "Swing low, sweet chariot" - we talked about how with all the misunderstanding in the world we didn't want this one to get in the way of enjoying our brief time together - when I shared with everyone the concerns I had heard from our Romanian friends that we might think less of them for the snafu, a spontaneous shout of "NO!" came from the BCCS singers. The singing was rich and full of emotion, maybe even more so than usual at these kind of gatherings, and before the last refrain, the singers spontaneously grasped hands and stood up - "I looked over Jordan, and what did I see? A band of angels watching over me
We slowly filed out, cars picked up those who needed a ride, and the rest enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the bus. We got back to our hotel at 2:00 in the morning, dog-tired but without a regret in the world.
The next morning, we allowed ourselves a delayed start, at 10:30, when several of our host choir members led us on a walking tour of the nearby historic squares of Timisoara, including a magnificent Orthodox church built in the years just before WWII. We had another surprise when we visited a small museum of the 1989 revolution. A slight man with a cane greeted us at the door and soon became intent that we watch a 45 minute film of footage from the revolution. The man, who must have been in his 70's, used a cane because he had been shot in the leg during the uprising. He feebly set up the laptop and projector with help from several as we packed into the small room to watch (see photo)
On the way to Hungary this afternoon, after listening to our recording of the moving Missa Brevis of Hungarian Zoltan Kodaly that we will perform tomorrow with a local Hungarian choir, Edward talked about the Hungarian revolution of 1956, which though unsuccessful and far more deadly (25,000 estimated dead) lead to an earlier and more lasting reform in Hungary, which now has a much stronger economy than Romania as a result (as witnessed by the four lane highways that greeted us over the border).
We arrived at our hotel in Budapest at 7:00 and had a very relaxed dinner at 8:30, with bottles of tasty Hungarian wine flowing at each table. We're looking foward to a relaxed day in Budapest tomorrow with relatively little time spent in the bus, but hopefully some more memorable music making with new friends in a local choir. - TL