Next Stop: Brussels Belgium
With previous concerts in Berlin and Nuremberg, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland; and Frankfurt, Germany, the Choir and Orchestra made their sixth stop in Brussels, Belgium, at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts. The concert hall opened in 1928 and is home to the National Orchestra of Belgium.
Prior to the tour Mack Wilberg warned Choir members “not to expect standing ovations and not to expect what we would call thunderous applause, because most European concerts that I have attended over the years—I think that people appreciate the music just as much—but sometimes don’t demonstrate it quite the way that we’re used to with American audiences.” After a few concerts Wilberg acknowledged, “But we have been pleasantly surprised the entire tour that the audiences have not been just appreciative but have been enthusiastic in their appreciation for the concerts.”
Maria Murphy, mother of Ryan Murphy, the Choir’s associate music director, was born in Belgium. According to a recent Deseret News article, Maria Murphy “joined the Church at age 20, then served a mission in France, where she met her future husband, Tom Murphy, while he was stationed there in the U.S. military. Later, Brother Murphy served in the same mission in France where his mother served.”
In a pre-tour interview, Murphy talked about his upbringing and frequent visits to Belgium. He said he was proud of his mother and her heritage explained, “I feel a very strong connection to the country and the people there, and I feel a sense of debt for my heritage and for the people that came before me and to the culture there. And so it has a lot of personal meaning for me to be able to conduct in Belgium. I still have family in Belgium—my aunt and uncle and cousins—so that’s going to be a very special moment for me to be there in that country.”