Slovakia
Slovakia

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153 travelers at this place:

  • Day32

    Tatras mountains

    Today in Slovakia

    So exciting! We found Suzanna - our exchange student from way back - well, we found where she is living (in Germany) and contact details. We had completely lost touch. She came from Bánska Bystrica and that was our main reason for this deviation into Slovakia. This morning we walked the town visiting funeral parlours (her father owned one) but without success. Ian had the brilliant idea of buttonholing anyone who looked about the right age and asking if they had been at school with Suzanna. And behold, at the tourist office in the bus stop we struck gold! Our attendant had been at school with Suzanna and after contacting other school mates was able to put us in touch.

    Then we decided we had to at least put our feet into the Tatras Mountains. Took the local bus up to this pretty mountain village - originally a mining town. Climbed the covered stairs to the church - steep! Cold! Loved the bar with fire burning.
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  • Day32

    Bánska does bells

    Today in Slovakia

    We are in a very charming little hotel right next to the town square which is so pretty. Very weird that black night descends at 4pm! Sunny (are we ever lucky!) but cold - at night the temperature falls to -5, and daytime it gets up to 8degrees. Very interesting trip to our room - multiple little changes in level up and down steps. Tricky trying to make flat floors in old buildings. Soviet era toilet paper which leaves one with no doubt it is made from wood, for breakfast pancakes, sweet cream cheese stuffed brioche bread, sausage and meat pate features heavily on the menu. But the coffee, to my surprise, is excellent!

    Ian ordered a glass of slivovich (spelling?) last night and I something supposedly lighter. His was over 50%proof, mine 30%. We abandoned them after a few sips. Good for flambé we reckon. But not to drink.
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  • Day31

    Skalica

    July 23 in Slovakia

    Back to warm temperatures and sunny skies as we made our way to Skalica this morning and our third concert of the tour in the Jesuit Church of St. Francis Xavier. We unloaded and then had some free time to spend wandering around the town, finding lunch and generally relaxing in beautiful surroundings. Slight aberration in in the planning was the fact that I hadn't twigged that Skalica is actually just over the border into Slovakia so we needed Euros today! Fortunately there was the option of getting a packed lunch from Olomouc before we left this morning so everyone is covered. My mistake, sorry!!

    The concert this evening is slightly earlier than the others with a start time of 6.00pm. The church itself is lovely, with a fantastic acoustic for the choir's sound to soar in, and it will magnify the orchestra too, so we are really looming forward to tonight's penultimate concert! Afterwards the plan is to have dinner and stay in Skalica for a while before making the journey back to the hotel, arriving around midnight.

    Back to the lovely weather!
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  • Day31

    Needle Quartet

    July 23 in Slovakia

    The Needle quartet performed outside the church this afternoon. In gorgeous sunshine, but shaded by trees on the lawn, they performed three movements from Dvorak's American String Quartet. It was a bit quiet "locals - wise" but those that were there were very appreciative. And of course with NMPAT students being so nice and supportive, there were plenty of fellow musicians around to listen!

  • Day31

    MCB and Zinnia Quartets

    July 23 in Slovakia

    Before the concert this evening there was an opportunity for two of our string quartets to perform as the audience arrived at the church. There was a steady stream of locals who stopped to have a listen,and both groups did a sterling job! The Zinnia quartet played Por Una Cabeza by Gardel and the MCB quartet played a movement from Dvorak's American Quartet.

  • Day31

    Skalica Concert

    July 23 in Slovakia

    At about 17.40 I have to admit to being a little worried that we wouldn't have an audience at all for this concert, and in fact at about 17.45 I would have taken 40 people if I had been offered it! I needn't have worried as there was a steady stream of people from 17.50 and by the time the orchestra was tuning up there were around 200 people in the audience which was just brilliant.  The church looks lovely and is a wonderful venue in which to perform, and to have a pretty much capacity audience to play to was a real bonus for the students.

    CYO began the concert with Tchaikovsky's overture to Romeo and Juliet; we thought that the acoustic in the church would help with projection and boy were we right!
    There are some churches that we have visited on NMPAT tours where the echo has gone well into double figures of seconds which can often obliterate the music as it all becomes blurred and smudged, however whilst there was a little echo it didn't in any way detract from the music and allowed the orchestra to project right to the "standing room only section" in the very back of the church in what was an exhilarating performance to listen to! The orchestra has played this work so well this year and that today was no exception, just brilliant!

    CYCh followed CYO to the front of the stage and began their first set with the beautiful 'Abide With Me' and it was simply lovely.  The purity of sound and control that these students have is fantastic, you really could hear a pin drop in the spaces! Dashing Away with a Smoothing Iron' is one of those pieces that musicians would say "could wobble a bit" if everyone isn't absolutely focussed and concentrating throughout, as there are so many entries coming in at different times, however there were no problems for such a gifted group of singers and they pulled it off with aplomb! Then for their third piece Lauson Kenyon sang a wonderful solo in 'And So It Goes' and again the control and dynamic range displayed by the choir was awesome, the acoustic helping to fill the church and immerse the audience.

    CYO then performed the fourth movement from Scheherezade and the energy, power and beauty within their performance was wonderful.  A big shout out should go to Jade Segler for playing the violin cadenzas so well, and she was ably supported by Holly-Alice Morton on harp! This work is not played by many youth orchestras, as it has so many challenges to it, so it is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the students that they played it so professionally today, it was a pleasure to listen to.

    The final set from CYCh began with the beautiful and haunting 'Shenandoah' featuring Libby Marsland as soloist; they followed this with 'Cantate Dominum' and a performance including a vocal quintet performing at the opposite end of the church.  Their final piece was Sleep, which was breathtaking and captivated the audience completely, you sometimes get the feeling from audiences that they have been totally 'swept away' by the music and this performance had absolutely that effect today! The reaction to Sleep led to extended applause so 'Underneath The Stars' was chosen as the choir's encore featuring Michael Needle as soloist, this piece really tugs at the heart strings and was a beautiful way to end CYCh's contributions to the concert.

    This left CYO to finish proceedings with a performance of music from the Cowboys which brought the concert to a rousing conclusion. It has been another brilliant concert by both groups and it is wonderful to get to listen to such fantastic musicians, congratulations to everyone! There was just time for a standing ovation from the audience for all of the performers, some nice presentations and an encore of Nimrod (a personal favourite!) and a rendition of the last few bars of the Cowboys to send everyone home happy!
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  • Day32

    Transfer Day

    July 24 in Slovakia

    We are on our way from Olomouc to Bratislava today. We checked out of the Clarion Congress Hotel at 10.00 and we are due into Bratislava at about 13.30.

    We stopped at a service station and whilst most students went to the loo and bought some lunch, there was a contingent who chose to entertain themselves during the break in different ways...

    ...they kept it going for practically the entire 30-minute stop which is something - exactly what I'm not sure?!?! It made everyone laugh though!Read more

  • Day32

    Student Blog - Aoife Pink

    July 24 in Slovakia

    I think I speak truthfully when I say the teachers on this trip are absolute legends.

    It has been an emotional rollercoaster so far for many students, and that couldn’t have been managed without the patience, time and consideration of our teachers.

    From my perspective, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to manage 118 loud, excitable and terrifying teenagers. I truly bow down to that.

    In my personal experience, without Beth’s caring and invaluable consideration, Mr Taylor’s funny jokes (well kind of), Andy "is there anything that man can’t do" Johnson and Kirkwood’s beautiful nail polish- this trip wouldn’t be the same.

    I am so grateful for this final experience with NMPAT before going to university, and I have so much respect for the passion and the dedication of all the teachers. Everyone on this trip, and part of the NMPAT community are learning skills and making friends for life. It’s an absolute blessing.

    I look forward to our last concert on Wednesday, I have a feeling it will be an emotional one for me, but equally very happy.

    Thank you NMPAT

    Aoife
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  • Day32

    As we write this, you find us on the coach once more, on the way to Bratislava for the next part of our epic adventure - tour 2018. As of today we have performed three superb concerts, seen three gorgeous towns and experienced Czech hospitality at its finest when putting up with our fumbling attempts at Czech!
    Our journey here was long but surprisingly enjoyable, filled with bleary-eyed service stops and one am twister games (we were heavily judged by the brass) and some entertaining sleeping positions! Our hotel in Olomouc was perfect - it had comfy beds and that was enough for us!
    Our first concert was held in the Archbishop’s Palace in Kromeriz which, and I think I can speak for all of of, was a stunning venue to perform in! The acoustic was incredibly resonant which meant the brass needed to tone it down - especially in Romeo and Juliette when it hit the back of the hall like a sledgehammer - we didn’t want to deafen the audience just yet! They loved Vltava and gave a standing ovation, which made us feel so proud!
    For choir, it was the perfect acoustic to sing Whitacre’s Sleep - it was a performance none of us will forget!
    This was similar for the next concert in the KD Elektra Concert Hall in Luhacovice where Andy Johnson beautifully performed the tuba concerto by Vaughn Williams to a very impressed Czech audience! (from our vantage point in the 1st violins, we could see lots of Czech nodding) and the choir performed the whole Mass in Blue for the second time this year. It was an absolute success and Brigith and Millie did a fabulous job, everyone was so impressed! Orchestra played Cowboys which was a very popular choice and we all love playing that one - its definitely a highlight!

    By this point, we were all feeling tired but satisfied and happy, our performances had run smoothly and the ovations were loud and long. Our third and final concert (for now!) was in another stunning location - the Jesuit Church if St. Francis in Skalica.
    It was picturesque inside and out and the sun made the church seem light and spacious. As we arrived we were very taken with the plush velvet armchairs thy made up the first two rows and the veiny, marbled rock in the decor. Scheherazade was the new addition and the solo parts, played by Jade, resonated beautifully in the high ceiling of the church. The unaccompanied songs sung by choir were also perfect for the acoustic and the solos by Lauson and Libby in ‘And So It Goes’ and ‘Shenandoah’ respectively were both beautifully sung and carried to every corner of the church. We had a lovely dinner in a local hotel and began on the long drive back to Olomouc. (Big Thankyou to our coach drivers!)

    From the students we would like to say Thankyou to all of the the staff who have come with us, with special mention to Mr Kirkwood for organising the whole trip and working on it for effectively the whole year, Mr Roper for conducting orchestra in all our concerts and rehearsals and taking on Mr Green’s pieces, as I know those pieces would be sorely missed; and last but not least to Ms Hodgson for taking the choir; she is an inspiration and has very good programme-choosing skills! I know I can speak for us all when I say, tour would not be the same without you and we are all extremely grateful!

    Helena Thomas and Izzy Annandale
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  • Day32

    Student Blog 1 - Amy & Beth

    July 24 in Slovakia

    Hi all,

    3 days in and loving every second. The concerts have been amazing and the coach journeys are something else... (let's just say there's not a song we haven't sung). 

    Our first concert venue was a stunning venue and the acoustics were amazing. 

    The audiences have been lovely, very supportive, we may have even had some tears in the audience at our first concert. The second concert was another great concert, singing the whole way through Mass in blue and playing (my personal fave) Cowboys. 

    The cuisine has surprised us all! The first night, our expectations were met with the classic good old meat, chips and gravy. However, the desert really pulled through and was thoroughly enjoyed. The second night we all placed our bets on the meat and chips in a riveting game of dinner bingo. Whist waiting for our food, to pass the time, our table had a very tense game of flip the coaster onto the jug and we found out that Beth (Elliott) has a true talent. (As you can probably tell, we know how to have a good time.)

    When the food arrived we were pleasantly surprised with a delicious spag bol, followed by a mysterious yet yummy eclair type desert.

    Sleep deprivation is an occurring problem at around 7:45 each morning. The beds (special shoutout to the dreamiest pillows) make it near impossible to wake up to your alarm and most mornings have been one of speed waking down to the elevator whilst herding the whole floor en route. Today we were given a luxurious lie in of 8:30 (they treat us well) and we took full advantage reaching breakfast at 8:45 (whoops!) 

    Overall the trip has been amazing so far and we are loving every minute of it! Can't wait to go and explore Bratislava tomorrow! 

    Amy and Beth (the Lennon twins)
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You might also know this place by the following names:

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