1987 Chamber Choir to Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria
In May the sixteen-voice chamber UNO Chamber Choir and faculty sponsors traveled to Warsaw, Poland under the direction of Dr. Cina Crisara. Upon arrival in the capital city, the delegation was met with their official guide who traveled with them to Czestochowa, home of the "The Black Madonna", an important icon in the Catholic religion of the country. The choir had the honor of singing during the unveiling of this magnificent symbol. Next the group made their way to Oswiecim, the Nazi Concentration Camp of Auschwitz. There was a particularly powerful moment when the choir sang a brief concert while laying flowers at the site commemorating the many people who suffered and died at this site. Several days were spent in Krakow, the ancient capital of Poland. In addition to viewing the wonderful Market Square and adjoining architectural wonders, the ensemble sang a memorable concert at the Mariacki Church.
The group then traveled to Vienna, which afforded a startling contrast to the Communist controlled Poland. Students and faculty were graciously hosted by the chorus of the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, one of UNO’s sister-universities. For several days the ensemble enjoyed the lavish hospitality of their hosts and had the chance to see this great city through the eyes of people who had spent part or all of their lives in this picturesque locale. One of the many highlights of the Viennese visit was a series of joint concerts sung by the two groups. A side visit from Vienna took the group to Esterhazy, the royal court where Joseph Haydn was composer in residence. It was a special treat to see the beautiful grounds and facilities where Haydn worked for almost 30 years. In the concert hall of Esterhazy, several individuals even had the chance to play Haydn’s harpsichord.
The tour then moved to Prague where the group had the chance to view the beautiful sites of this ancient city. In returning to a Communist controlled country, everyone was astounded at the lack of freedoms people had in Czechoslovakia as compared to their experiences in Austria. Nevertheless, the delegation was hosted exquisitely by the faculty and administration of Charles University, another of UNO’s sister-universities, where the group sang a concert that met with ovations by a standing room only crowd.
The tour concluded with a return to Warsaw where the delegation toured the city. The three days in Warsaw ended with a farewell concert before returning to Omaha.