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  • Caroline Altman

Music leads the way...

We had a very dynamic and bustling trip from Melk to Vienna, two trains, lots of luggage, and getting to know the U-Bahn in the city. This brought us to the most luxurious hotel yet--a great place to spend our last few days (or longer--read on...)

Yesterday we checked in, had a great time exploring the stalls and savories at the Nachsmarkt and then got back on the train to Schonbrunn, the summer home of the Hapsburgs who ruled Austria for 700 years. We explored the palace and grounds (complete with an Easter/Spring Fair set up in front of the palace) then stopped for coffee, hot or cold chocolate and various combinations of the two. We stopped back at the hotel and then branched off in our chaperone groups for dinner. Scouts noticed the formality of the city, remarking upon the splendor of the architecture and how beautifully everyone was dressed.

This morning we had a bit of a rude awakening. After being so careful the whole week, a few Scouts started to feel under the weather. We tested once, twice, even thrice for some, and three of our group are now quarantined for positive tests. Apparently the surge is very real in this part of the country. Luckily symptoms are very mild, and cases seem contained. We will know more when PCR results are in tomorrow. In the meantime, three of our band are isolated while others are exploring. When the rest of the group took off on their guided walking tour of the city, spirits dampened and heads hung low. Then this happened:

Visiting St. Michael's church, a few were encouraged to sing. This is the church of Mozart's funeral, where his famous requiem was first performed. After sharing their voices in this sacred space, spirits were lifted. There is sorrow and disappointment in the world and it is nice to remember that music has that ethereal ability to lift up the darkest feelings and remind one of something bigger--the deep connection we all have.

Tonight, after a lovely early supper at our gracious hotel, most of the Scouts are at the Vienna State Opera to see Carmen. And tomorrow, more testing and our concert. Send vibes for music and good health!


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