My Experience on a Performance Tour

During my junior year of undergraduate studies at Queens University of Charlotte, I received the privileged opportunity to travel as a member of the university’s Chamber Singers on tour to the Czech Republic and Poland. My initial response to the news of this ground-breaking trip consisted of both intrigue and fear. Foremost, my most intense fear in life was traveling, particularly flying, and also, I questioned why anyone would ever want to travel to Poland or the Czech Republic. Both destinations sounded so boring to me. I soon discovered, after months of anxious anticipation, that this journey not only fostered many of the most beautiful memories I’ve ever made, but ultimately changed the entire course of my life.
I quickly forgot my fear of flying as I settled in to the plush cozy seats of the large Lufthansa plane, eagerly surfing the channels of the personal television embedded into the headrest in front of me. Three feature length films later, we safely landed in Europe, without a single moment of frightened tantrum on my part. Our first stop was Prague. I didn’t know much about the “Golden City” prior to stepping foot there, but I quickly fell in love.
We toured the Mozart Museum, where all the literature I was forced to read for music history class suddenly came to life. We strolled through the Prague Castle in utter amazement of the stunning architecture, historic relics, and breathtaking view of the “City of a Hundred Spires.” We wandered the Town Square, enjoyed the sweet scent of fresh baked goods wafting through the open air of the outdoor market, and gazed in delight at the marvel of the Astrological Clock. We enjoyed a dinner of traditional Czech delicacies before being set free to experience free time as the locals would.
Our second day in Prague marked our first official European performance. We offered our humble talents to a packed audience in the St. Climent Presbyterian Church. The rustic stone building produced acoustics of which many musicians only dream. We had the honor of performing a traditional Czech folk song, to which every sweet little elderly woman in the crowd sang along. The thought of that moment still brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. I wished our short-lived time in Prague could have lasted forever, but we soon moved on to Wroclaw, Poland, one of Charlotte’s eight Sister Cities throughout the world.
Since Wroclaw and Charlotte maintain official political ties, our group consisted of members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg City Council and the Charlotte International Cabinet, in addition to our all-girl choir. We performed official concerts for the Wroclaw city government, including a luncheon at the 14th century courthouse in the town hall.
During our stay in Wroclaw, we experienced an exchange interaction with a local collegiate choir, the Angelus Choir, with whom we performed multiple joint concerts, one of which took place in their own school. Collaborating with the Angelus Choir students was by far my favorite performance of the entire trip. They guided us through town, took us out for dinner and gelato, and showed us the culture of typical Polish university students. I am proud to say that, through the wonders of Facebook, I still call many of these students my friends, and will hopefully see them again very soon.
Poland not only gifted us with new foreign friends, but also brought our group emotionally closer, as we enjoyed the frantically entertaining atmosphere of multi-bedded youth housing. Our first night in Hostel Wroclaw on Chopin Street was the hardest I’ve laughed in my whole life, and even though I’ve graduated and moved on, those girls are still some of my dearest friends.
As I mentioned earlier, my European performance tour not only provided lifelong cherished memories, but also changed the course of my life. During our adventure, I conveniently networked with the Executive Director of the Charlotte International Cabinet who accompanied us on our journey to attend to official Sister City relations. This communication landed me an internship with the Charlotte International Cabinet for the following school year. Luckily for me, Sandra Weinacht, the CEO of Incantato Tours, serves on the board of the Charlotte International Cabinet, and, to make a long story short, my internship supervisor put in a good word, ultimately assisting in attaining my new position on the Incantato team. Now I'm excited to have the opportunity to provide others with an equally amazing experience.
Needless to say, I’ve overcome my fear of travel.

Courtney Williams,
Incantato Tours
Queens University of Charlotte Chamber Singers Alumni