No competition today

Trip Start May 07, 2012
Trip End May 16, 2012

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Flag of Austria  , Lower Austria,
Saturday, May 12, 2012

As we were eliminated from the competition, our Saturday opened up a bit. We started the day by performing in front of the competition venue in an open air concert with other choirs. Part of the event was a "yodeling demonstration" which was more like regular folk singing than what I expected as yodeling.  The really cool thing to me was that the demonstrator taught the assembled group a four part folk song by rote, and the audience performed it in four parts.  All I kept thinking was "In the United States, this activity would have been met with drone chanting or silence."

After this event, we had some free time for lunch and shopping, so I set off with a group of fellow students to explore the town. We came across a fantastic folk trio from Russia playing in the street.  I bought one of their CD's while Nicole and Curtis tried their hand at dancing the tango. We later discovered an Italian street market, where I bought some glass jewelry for my wife and sampled some goodies.  I ended up buying a string of Italian salami and splitting it with some of my fellow students.  The absolute best thing about this market was the canoli filled with Nutella. I bought one of those and a couple of coconut macaroons.  Very yummy! More walking around led us to a bakery, where I bought one of the best cinnamon sticky pastries I've ever had.  It was good that we were doing so much walking.

Around 4:00, we had a walking tour of the city by a licensed guide.  She showed us around the historical aspects of Baden, including a chance to walk through a limestone tunnel carved by the Romans around 50 BC.  The tunnel led to one of the original Roman hot spring wells.  It smelled of sulphur, but it was truly fascinating.

After the walking tour was the final prize ceremony for the competition.  The theater was really, really warm.  Austrians generally do not use air conditioning, and this theater was at least 20 degrees warmer than the outside.  The English translator for the ceremony gave a valiant effort, but her translations were a bit rough and sometimes she just gave up.  We sang Mozart's "Ave verum corpus" and the European Hymn, based on the Ode to Joy.  The big winners were the Argentinians, who took both the compulsory and the grand prize.  They were quite good.  Finally, the day ended with a big party in which our students and the Argentinians lit up the dance floor.
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