Choir Members Sing in Europe

Frances Hackley

Members of the Robson Ranch Choir were fortunate to have the opportunity to sing in Europe. The trip, delayed for two years because of COVID-19, finally was underway on Sept. 1. The group of singers joined with the Voices of Flower Mound for this most splendid occasion. We first arrived in Budapest, spending just two days, but we were able to see panoramic sights throughout the city. All mouths fell open upon first sight of the beautiful gothic St. Matthias Church, founded in 1015. The church is situated above the Danube River, in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion and across from the Parliament building in the Castle District of Buda. This towering masterpiece of medieval and gothic architecture stunned and awed its viewers. If not mesmerized enough, we then entered the church, finding biblical scenes and medieval frescos delicately painted, depicting important events of Hungarian history. Every inch of granite, gold inlay, tile, and wood carving so pristinely preserved in all its splendor was simply captivating! Other sites included the Baroque Palace, Budapest Cathedral, and Pest Concert Hall. The Concert Hall, a masterpiece of Hungarian Romantic architecture, was ornate, flashy, gaudy, and magnificent!

We then traveled on to Vienna. There we toured the State Opera House, known as the “Best Opera House in the World.” Built in the Neo Renaissance style, it boasted imposing marble staircases, velvet seats, majestic tapestries adorned in gold, and towering marble statues. The group first sang at Mass in St. Stephan’s Cathedral (dedicated in 1147) right in City Center. We then followed with a 30-minute concert of our gospel music selections. The church is massive, covering the area of a football field, done in a mix of renaissance and gothic styles. The glorious tower reaches 446 feet into the heavens, where 6 of the 22 bells reside to peal and boom! Singing there was a huge honor, and the lovely people of Vienna were most thankful of our American gospel tunes. One fact, it was in front of this church where Beethoven realized he was deaf, not being able to hear the bells toll. We also visited Schonbrunn Palace, the Composers Cemetery, where Schubert, Beethoven, Maher, and other famous composers are entombed. Then we were treated to a performance by the Vienna Residence Orchestra.

Off to Prague, where we enjoyed a walk-through Prague Castle (the world’s largest castle complex), St. Vitus Cathedral, and The Old Royal Palace. The Castle complex overlooks the Vltava River into Lesser Town. From there you see the impressive medieval stone Charles Bridge (completed in 1400). A view down every street screams postcard! We sang at St. Nicholas Church on the Old Town Square, one block from the Astronomical Clock and gothic Church of Our Lady, before Tyne. This impressive Baroque church was not as massive as St. Stephan’s but, nonetheless, breathtaking. Stained glass depicting religious and historic events among marble columns, all trimmed in gold, mesmerized! The group sang another 30-minute concert, where we were graciously appreciated.