Tour Diary 6—Appreciative Audiences are our Reward!
By Jules Aamodt, Orchestra at Temple Square member
After a tiring, 5-hour bus ride from Zurich, Switzerland to Frankfurt Germany, I was ready to find some peace and relaxation on the day off for the Choir and Orchestra. I found it on a romantic Rhine River cruise! What a delight! Rüdesheim, Germany was the port of entry with 6 stops downriver. Even though the vineyards were exquisite, and each castle majestic, the highlight of the trip was stopping off in Bacharach! What a quaint little town of roughly 2,000. I walked through vineyards, climbed watch towers, and enjoyed lunch at small restaurant. (I laughed out loud when the waiter told me in his thick German accent which entrees were favorites of Rick Steves!) I hopped on the next boat and had an equally enjoyable cruise back to my stop. All together an unforgettable afternoon!
Concert time! Despite the hot temperature in the building, and the technical difficulties with our touring organ, the performance at our concert venue in Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle, was amazing! Truly! Nothing could interfere with the magic of the evening. I felt the energy from the audience as soon as they were being seated. Okay, so I had perspiration in my eyes and I thought my chin would be stuck to my viola forever, but you know what? It just didn't matter. Playing for such a warm and receptive audience was a joy! These great people radiated the feeling of family, love, and heritage.
After four earlier concerts on this European tour, I had an unexpected surprise in Frankfurt with my personal tour repertoire favoriteMack Wilberg's exquisite “Prologue.” It is the very first piece on the program and that evening it took my breath away. I was afraid to move or change my posture for fear of breaking the spell. It set the entire tone for an evening that would mark one of my favorite concerts on tour! (“Prologue” provided an added bonus as it is printed on stiff paper so I could fan myself during intermission!)
As a violist performing in the front and center of the stage, I have a unique vantage point to see the audience and their reaction during the concert. One of my favorite things to watch for is the specific song that will touch a certain individual and make their face and spirit come alive. For the 90-year-old gentleman on the front row, it was “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” For the father and daughter on the second row it was “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” One lady didn't have a favorite! She was beaming the whole time and I thought she'd pop right out of her seat!
Watching the audience reaction as we perform each night, is the reward for all of the months of practice and preparation for this tour. Their appreciation for our music makes being away from our homes and families worthwhile!