This weekend was like stepping back into time.
It has been six years since I was last in Austria. Six years ago, I had come to the Bogenhofen/Salzburg region with a group of 40+ individuals on the first major orchestra tour of my college career. That tour is still the one I tend to speak about most often, and it started in Austria.
It was here that I saw cute houses around every corner. It was here that I really fell in love with German. It was here that I knew I wanted to be a musician for the rest of my life. It was here that I met my best friend and brother from another mother, Michael. It was here that I knew I would some day return to.
Bogenhofen Seminar Scholss is a school where high school students and theology students come to learn while living in the beautiful “heart of Europe.” The school also has a language program where international students come to learn German. I had wanted to come during my college years, but sadly it never happened. Perhaps it still will? We’ll have to wait and see…
The campus was more beautiful than I remembered. Ever corner brought memories of different antics and stories from my time there with the NEYE.
I also had the chance to visit Salzburg, which had been a highlight of the NEYE tour. In this place where Mozart was born, lived, and worked, music seemed to seep from every stone’s crevice.
The orchestra had had the honor of opening the famous international music festival in the gorgeous Salzburg Dom. Walking through those doors, glancing up at the five organs and beautiful art all around, it was like I could see us all again, performing under the Kappelmeister who held Mozart’s old job. Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, our late director, would be bobbing around to make sure we were all in our places and letting us know if any of us were off pitch. The younger faces of all the people I know and love and call family kept appearing before my eyes, and nostalgia swept over me.
The Fortress was the other must see site of the city, one that I had failed to appreciate fully the last time I had come. Being in poor physical shape is never fun, but especially when it keeps you from enjoying memorable experiences. Also, I had chosen to rest instead of climbing to the top because I didn’t want to exert myself too much, as I was expecting to perform later that evening. I didn’t perform and ended up having missed out on the amazing view – and it was time to rectify the latter.
With a little encouragement from my friend, I was able to make it all the way to the top of the Fortress and my, Salzburg is beautiful from above.
It was amazing to remember the good times once had, but it was even more amazing to think of all the memories I was making now.
On this short trip, I also had the chance to: meet and play with a giant 6 month old Great Dane puppy, walk through the overgrown forests and fields of the countryside, ride a motorcycle (essentially for the first time), see the Inn river, practiced my improvisation skills, explore places in the Dom and the Fortress I had not seen before, attended a fail jazz concert (but we had fun anyways), and had some long, awesome conversations with a good friend. The only thing I could have asked for more of was time.
Let’s just hope it won’t be another six years before I return. There are too many memories waiting to be made.
(Pictures to be added later)