Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More to Come

Hello everyone!
Due to lack of internet while overseas, I have fallen behind on updating the blog. Check back on Saturday and everything will be completely updated! Thanks!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Left in the Cold - Monday, March 18th

And we are off to another town and more sight seeing.

We met bright and early to head to Odense.

Todays agenda consisted of another church, the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, and Koldinghus. We had alot to do in very little time, and this was seen later in the day.

Jordan and Mary enjoying Canute's Cathedral
(Sorry for the quality, lighting was bad)
We arrived in Odense and headed to St. Canute's Cathedral. This Cathedral was named after the Danish Saint, Canute. At this point the churches and Cathedrals are all starting to look the same, but this Cathedral had something that the others have not had so far; skeletons on display. The skeletons that were on display in glass boxes were that of St. Canute and his brother Benedict. Students were able to rome the church and see the Gothic Architecture.

Singing at St. Canute's Cathedral
Dr. Duffy surprised us with a mini concert at St. Canutes, but most of the students didn't mind because the sound of the church was amazing and carried our voices throughout. We sang two songs and then were off to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum.

Entrance to H.C. Andersen House
Waiting in the cold
Joslynn excited about the Hans Christian Andersen Museum
The Hans Christian Andersen Museum is usually closed on Monday's, but we had a reservation to have it opened especially for us; or so we were told. Apparently the museum didn't get the memo or didn't communicate well with everyone. We arrived at the museum and then had to stand outside for about 30 minutes before the exibit coordinator saw us standing in the cold and gave us a private tour of the museum. Almost everyone agreed that the private tour was better than just roaming on our own because we were able to get a backround of Hans Christian Andersen and heard mostly the interesting parts of his life. Unfortunately we were unable to buy any gifts at the gift shop.

Free time! We had a little bit of time on our own to grab some lunch and head back to the bus. We only had about an hour and a few students struggled with the time constraint. We had some students show up to the bus about ten minutes late, but we were still missing one person. More than 30 minutes after we were supposed to be back on the bus, we sent someone off to look for the lost student. They came back a short time later and we found out that a group of students decided to go to a sit-down restaurant for their short lunch break. After ordering and waiting for their food, they then had confusion with their bill which took a long time to sort out. This made us late for our next stop; Koldinghus.

View from the top of the tower
Koldinghus was built in the middle of the 13th century and is a very important castle for Denmark. It caught fire in 1808 and since has been restored and turned into a museum. Due to some students being late after lunch, we had very little time to roam the castle. This made many students angry because they weren't able to see the dungeon and many other parts of the castle.

After our short time at the castle we boarded the coach and headed to our next town; Vilslev, Denmark.

Change of Plans - Sunday, March 17th

If any of you have talked to a choir member over the last few days, you know that the weather is nothing like we were expecting. It's also nothing like it would usually be at this time of the year over here. With freezing temperatures and flurries in the air, we had to make a few changes to our plans for the day.

Bundled up and braving the cold
The morning started as planned; we sang a few songs at the worship service at Lindelse Church. The service was a litte boring for most students because we had no idea what was being said. Obviously since we are in Denmark, the main language is Danish, so that's what we heard for the service. We tried to sing along to the hymn's, but that didn't go so well.

After service we were supposed to go on a short bus ride and then a walking tour of Rudkobing, but instead we did a long bus tour of the North and South side of Rudkobing. Pastor Trilla was so kind to give us the tour and alot of information about the town. Most of the students didn't enjoy this day becasue of all of the tension on the bus. Friendships are being tested. This is probably due to how confined we are on the bus and how often we are together.

Tranekaer Castle
We were supposed to walk around Tranekaer Castle, but instead we were only able to drive past because of how cold it was outside. We got a little break from each other when we stopped at Tranekaer Church where we got a history lesson of the church from a friend of Trille's. A few students were obviously not interested and fell asleep. This church is very easily seen due to the bright yellow color. After our lesson we took a short walk around the grounds of the church and heard an interesting stroy about a grave there.

Tranekaer Church

Long ago Denmark was alot bigger than it is today, unfortunately there was a huge flood which took out 1/3 of the population. When this happened many bodies were found laying around. One of the bodies was of a baby girl. The people of the town searched for the parents of the girl, but they were never found, so those people decided to make a grave for her on the grounds of the church. They still keep up on the grave to this day.


Grave of girl found

Tomb built into the ground
On this tour we learned about the graves in the shape of a ship. Some of the graves dated back to the viking ages and still exist today. These graves are where captains of ships are buried, and are surrounded by rocks in the shape of a ship and are based on the size of the ship in which they commanded. We also got to enter a tomb that bodies were buried in and then removed. There was a very small entrance to the tomb so we had to enter one-by-one and were squished once we got in.

Students at the entrance of a tomb
After our very informative tour, we went back to the church and rehearsed for our evening concert. We then ate and had our concert in front of a packed house. This concert went well but, due to the tension of the day, there wasn't much celebration and praise to each other. We had a reception and then went back to our host families and had the night to ourselves.

Catching Up

Due to the lack of Wifi and time, I will be posting a blog for each day in Europe so far over the next few hours, then over the next couple of days I will add the videos to the blogs for the day. Sorry for the delay, but check back and keep following for updates!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Roskilde to Lindelse

We have WiFi!
Sort of.
Enough Wifi to write a blog, but not enough to upload a video.
So soon enough you will all get bombarded with a few choir tour videos!
Until then....

Writing their names with Viking letters
After our amazing stay at the hotel in Roskilde we headed to the Viking Ship Museum, which was only a few blocks away. This has been a highlight for some members of the choir because the museum had areas to dress up, write your name in a different language, and we
enjoyed a short video explaining
the history behind the museum.

Steph, Brad, Ryan and Leif exploring the gift shop
The history is pretty interesting. The museum holds five ships that have been pulled up from the harbor. They were placed there during medieval times in order to stop intruding ships from coming inland. These ships were originally sunk by placing enough rocks in the boat to weigh it down. They then sat just under the water so that enemy ships would crash into them before being able to reach land. These ships have been pulled up, preserved and placed into the Viking Ship Museum.

Preserved ships at the Viking Ship Museum

Permorning at Roskilde Cathedral
After leaving the museum we had our first concert in Europe. This concert was held at the Roskilde Cathedral. Between the standing order being completely different and our twenty-something voices trying to fill the huge space, we had alot of obstacles to work around. The concensus is that the concert wasn't great. It was a shortened concert (only 45 minutes long), but this didn't make it short and sweet. Instead there were some word memorization problems, a few pitchy areas and some shaky entrances. This means alot of room for improvement over the next week.
Concert advertising outside of Roskilde Cathedral


Mary, Ryan and Joslynn standing in the balcony
Originally we were told that we couldn't look around Roskilde Cathedral. As we walked in we were told that if we walked around the cathedral, we would have to pay the entrance fee. Luckily we were told before our performance that we would be able to walk around once we got done performing. The Cathedral was beautiful and had a balcony that over looked the entire church.
An exciting thing happened to one of our choir members while at Roskilde Cathedral. Leif met some distant relatives! He had never met these people before, but they were at the Cathedral and had the same name as Leif, so they got to talking and; Voila! Family!
Leif and his newfound family

After the concert and some time at the local market, it was time for a very long bus ride toward Rudkobing. One of the most hilarious and exciting things happened here; the bus got stuck! You heard me right! The bus got stuck! We went down a narrow road, and between the bus being big, the road being small and cars parked on the side of the street, we got stuck. So what do you do you do if this ever happens? Just have our big muscular choir guys lift the car off to the side in order to make room for the bus. President Henning is along on this trip for the time being, and he chipped in to help lift as well. After a few short minutes and many tired guys, they lifted the car off to the side a little which allowed the bus room to drive through. This can be seen when I upload the video for this day.

Once we got out we were on our way to Lindelse Church for our first home stay in Europe!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Welcome to Europe

We finally made it!
Spring break is here, although it's not much of a break for us.
After spending a free day in Chicago and flying 8 hours, we made it to Denmark. After waiting a crazy amount of time for everyone's luggage, we had our very own personal tour of Copenhagen.
Nyhaven Street and Canal in Copenhagen
Kirsten (I will find out her last name tomorrow), gave us a bus tour through the city and then we visited The Little Mermaid. A little history about The Little Mermaid; it was given to Denmark in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen. Since she was put into place, she has had her head cut off and stolen twice. The first time the head could not be found so they made a duplicate. When it was stolen the second time the thiefs left the head outside of of the local police station. The Little Mermaid has also had her arm broken off and stolen.

The Little Mermaid

The Choir Students with The Little Mermaid

Some of the girls standing on a bridge over the canal
After a little bit of free time to do some shopping, we made our way to Roskilde. We are staying at the Prindsen hotel which is in the middle of Roskilde. The Roskilde staff greeted us with an amazing dinner of salmon wrapped cream cheese, and veal with potatoes. The flavors were new to some people, but overall, most people enjoyed the food.
Where we ate dinner at Prindsen

Michelle performing on the stage

Table setting for dinner
After a night free in Roskilde, we get back to business tomorrow performing at the Roskilde Cathedral.
Another video will be coming shortly, so stay tuned!


Concert Locations

 Below is the schedule for all of our concerts while in Europe. Below that you will find a map showing the route we are going to take. It isn't 100% accurate but it gives you the jist of things.