In 2014 the choir travelled to Austria for a singing visit to Salzburg.

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Salzburg is a beautiful city with many attractive buildings worth closer inspection. But not in the rain. Our party of 55 singers and 13 friends and partners were welcomed at Munich airport by light drizzle, which by the time of our arrival in Salzburg had turned into steady rain which barely stopped until it was time to leave.

It was therefore a rather bedraggled and damp group who assembled for our first group meal in the Stiegkeller restaurant in the heart of the old town. At least the umbrella sellers – of whom there were many – did a roaring trade.

Our first concert was as part of the “Long Night of the Choirs” with singers from many parts of Austria – and further afield – taking it in turns in many local churches to perform to enthusiastic audiences. Our participation was first to provide choral accompaniment for the opening sung Mass in the Franciscan Church, and then to perform our concert pieces.

The following day saw the tourists travelling to St Wolfgang, one of the many attractive villages on the shores of the Wolfgangsee for lunch followed by a steamer trip to St Gilgen. The Wolfgangsee is surrounded by beautiful mountains – if only we could see them through the pouring rain! It was St Agydius church in St Gilgen which was the venue for our second concert in which we took part in a service of contemplation for Ascension, and our second meal together at the Wirt am Gries Restaurant.

Day three saw the tour party off again, this time to Thalgau for another rehearsal and concert in the parish church of St Martin, followed by a convivial meal of Wiener Schnizel and a little wine (for our health's sake) at the Landgasthof Santner Restaurant. In the absence of our Chairman Denise Parkin it fell to Deputy John Wishlade to make the usual presentations to say thank you to our organising team of Sue Eales, Jon Banks, Joan Abbatt and Scirard Lancelyn-Green: this being Salzburg the presents were inevitably Mozartkügeln ('balls' to the initiated).

Gifts also went to our long-suffering MD Graham, and organist Adrian Griffiths plus on this occasion our friend Una Barry. Una has been a soloist with the Music Society choir on many occasions. Coincidentally she was making a family visit to Salzburg, so the opportunity to have her join us in performance was not one to be missed.

And what did we sing? The repertoire was specially chosen to give Austrian audiences a taste of 'home' with Haydn and Mozart, together with an introduction to some of the major works of  English composers over the centuries.  This is the repertoire:

Haydn : Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo – 'Little Organ Mass'
Mozart : Vesperae Solennes de Confessore
Thomas Tallis : Salvator mundi
Pelham Humphrey : A Hymn to God the Father
Henry Purcell : Remember not, Lord, our offences
Parry : I was glad
Arthur Sullivan : Refrain thy voice from weeping
Stanford : Beati quorum via
Elgar : Ave verum corpus
Vaughan Williams : The Lord's my shepherd
Benjamin Britten : Jubilate Deo
John Tavener : The Lamb
Bob Chilcott : Requiem: Pie Jesu
Finally, as has now become normal on these occasions, our colleague Scirard composed a celebratory ditty – reproduced below and to be sung to the tune of “Glorious things of thee are spoken” (or the German national anthem if you prefer) with interpolations from the Sound of Music:

Salzburg whose whole year of rainfall
Falls upon us here below
We'll enjoy despite the weather
'Cos we paid a lot of dough
[Dough! a drop of golden bread]
Down our necks the organ thunders
We must belt it out today
All our notes in perfect order
Not a phrase in disarray
[Ray. A science fiction gun]

In St Wolfgang, mist permitting
Mountain views for all to see
Hills alive with sound of rainfall
Wet throughout anatomy
[Mi-mi: a name in La Bohème]
Cross the water by the schiff-full
To St Gilgen bound we are
Sang we there mid gilded angels
Punters came from near and far
[Far? the restaurant's quite near!]

I was glad they said “take brollies”
When to Thalgau next we go
Is their organ inconvenient
So what if we find it so?
[Sow: a tractor throwing seed]
If it has no combinations
Our own playing Ade have we
Sopping joys and dripping pleasures
These will suit is to a T
[“T”, a drink that goes with “G”]