• 2013 Ensemble Tour to Germany, Austria, Slovakia

On the Road to Graz - Day 8 - July 8th

Note:  A few new videos have been uploaded to youtube.  Check out

The kids were a little groggy this morning as they arrived at the music school, with all their bags in hand.  Rachel F was commenting on how nice her homestay was and that they were all so sad, because they were there long enough for the kids and families to just start to get to know each other, and then they had to leave.  Many came with goody bags that their homestays had given them, and lots of candy.  They all seemed to have a great experience in Munich, but were anxiously awaiting our friends in Graz!

It was about a 5 hour drive from Munich to Graz with some definite mandatory rest time on the bus.  Once we crossed the boarder into Austria, the setting suddenly changed to huge, cliff like mountains wrapped in cloud like blankets, rolling hills with beautiful Austrian Chateaus and more.  Even though we were in a “mandatory rest period,” Bob changed his mind because the scenery was just too beautiful to sleep through!  We saw many castles along the way and drove through some very prestigious ski resorts.  One was a national ski park where many ski competitions, like slalom and long jumps, were held.  We heard lots of cameras clicking and saw lots of flashes going off.  The kids were very excited to see where they were!

We finally arrived at our destination in Graz, where we were excitedly greeted by the HIB Singakademie choir, all dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndl skirts.  They held beautiful signs that said “Welcome Piedmont Choirs,” and as soon as we got off the bus, they sang us a welcome song.  Many of our kids had already gotten in contact with their homestays via email and facebook prior to their arrival, and there were also many hugs and kisses from the Austrian kids and our kids, very happy to reunite after a year apart, as they were guests at our last Golden Gate International Choir Festival.  The Austrian choir re-hydrated us and then we were led off to see a tourism promotional video on Graz, previewing many of the things we are going to be able to see in the next few days.  Maria, the director of the choir, and her husband Günter, who works for the city of Graz, told us a little about Graz.  It is the second biggest city in Austria with about 300,000 people and they are known for their culinary arts, and the very unique foods they have.  Gunter told the kids to make sure they try everything their homestays offer them because of some very unique foods, especially their pumpkin seed oil!  They also mentioned that nearly all of the food grown there is organic.  There were many cheers from the kids after this was mentioned.  They were all excited. 

Following the video, we had a delicious BBQ with lots of yummy things to try.  They had the traditional white sausage, some BBQ pork and veggies, and they also had BBQ mozzarella cheese, which was great!  There were bowls and bowls of salads, and 2 tables of desserts.  The kids and chaperones were VERY happy.  Following the dinner, we played a joint game of “Ride the Pony” and then Maria taught all the kids some traditional Austrian dances and songs.  They all had a great time dancing with each other and learning the different traditions of the different cultures.  Since so many of them already know each other, it was very fun to see all their excitement.  Following the BBQ, dancing, and singing, the kids all went home with their homestays for the night.  Another early morning tomorrow!  Hope they are all getting some much needed rest!

Chloe says goodbye to her adorable "homestay sister."
  • 2013 Ensemble Tour to Germany, Austria, Slovakia