More standing ovations for the Bob Cole Conservatory Choir in Austria

"I love this church", commented Dr. Jonathan Talberg on late Thursday night on the phone from beautiful Göttweig where the Bob Cole Conservatory Choir performed to a small yet very appreciative audience in the magnificent Stiftskirche - the perfect setting for Mendelssohn's "Heilig" sung in double choir from the altar area. Rainy weather and a national holiday brought only 32 listeners to the Benedictine Abbey, but they sure made some noise. Especially two older ladies who were so moved by the concert yet also extremely upset about the lack of a full house for the singers from Cal State Long Beach that they even yelled at one of the Father accusing him of not spreading the word about the event more: "Das war der beste Chor, der hier je gesungen hat und keiner wusste davon", one lady said: "This was the best choir we ever had here and nobody knew they were coming". No that nobody knew is hard to believe as a quick google search produced about 512 results for the concert listing and Incantato's concert management team had done their homework as well by sending out press releases to the media along with personal invites to local fans of choral music, but the national holiday on the Thursday is for many locals a reason to pack the whole family and go on a long weekend trip which combined with rainy weather and floods that keep the tourists away, can result in only a small crowd. "It didn't really matter so much", Talberg added. "The choir sounded amazing and we had a lot of fun." Last not least, the choir was asked for an encore and received two standing ovations - quite unusual for European audiences who are not known for showing such public displays of enthusiam, especially not in church. "It was a perfect day", their director concluded. After departing from Bratislava, the singers from CSULB had first stopped at Melk Abbey where they had been granted permission to sing a full set of sacred selections (another rare moment) and then continued on to Goettweig for a private reception, tour and rehearsal of the magnificent abbey perched high upon a hill that looks and feels like a fairy tale castle. And the best part of the day? Well, it sounded like the night ahead of them at the former boy school dormitory right next to the pink church where the group is staying for two nights. The only downside is that we will have to wait for actual pictures at least until tomorrow. While there is a gourmet restaurant just around the corner where they had dinner already and breakfast will be served for Dr. Talberg and his students, the Abbey does not offer wifi or any internet services. Auf Wiedersehen - Sandra for the CSULB gang in Göttweig, Austria!