By Jake and Russ Stultz
The Natchitoches Strings Ensemble recently toured Europe for our first ever international music festival June 24 – July 4. We qualified for the international festival due to our outstanding performance at Carnegie Hall last year. The ensemble consisted of 23 musicians and was accompanied by 22 chaperones. After a 10-hour flight over the Atlantic we landed in Munich and met with our host families in Sauerlach, just outside of Munich. Several ensemble members stayed the first two nights with local host families for a true German experience. For our first stop in Europe, we played for the local residents in a small town festival right outside of Munich.
After spending a day touring the city of Munich, we departed to Prague for a guided tour of the inner city. The next day we had the privilege to perform in the world renowned Dvorak Concert Hall which ended in a long standing ovation. Continuing our tour of Europe, we took a bus to the city of Vienna, Austria. As our first event in Vienna, we took a half-day bus tour of the city followed by dinner at a local music enthusiast’s home. The next day the ensemble performed in the Minoritenkirche Church, which resulted in a standing ovation and an encore from the audience.
The following day we traveled through the Alps to Salzburg. After taking in the sights of Salzburg we performed in the Mozarthaus, the home of Mozart’s parents, in the mountainous lake town of beautiful St. Gilgen. Following a standing ovation and an encore we travelled back to the hotel in preparation for the final day of flying back to America.