Let’s just start with this fact: The Hungarians are crazy about the University of Utah Singers. At least, the ones who’ve attended recent concerts act that way.
The choir’s performance at the Spring Festival in Telki was another evening when audience members would gladly have kept the choir for another hour or two of music. As it was, the 60-minute concert stretched into 90 minutes as the standing-room only crowd clapped and clapped, begging for just one more song.
Telki is a small town about 20 km from Budapest, with a history that traces back to the early 1200s. The town’s church is small, but on this night every pew was packed solid, and crowds jammed the vestibule and choir loft. Two groups performed before the Singers and received polite applause; when the Singers began their first number, The Singing Heart, you could see people suddenly perk up and get excited. By the time Alasdair started his solo the audience was already won over.
Just before the concert began, a couple stopped me and asked in broken English if I was part of the choir. I explained that I was helping out, and asked if they wanted someone in particular. No, they explained, they were from Bucharest and were just sorry more people in the city hadn’t known the choir was performing locally. “You should have let us know,” they gently reprimanded me. “There would have been even more people here.” I apologized but looked around the room and wondered where one more soul might have fit. Afterwards, I saw them talking with David Martin. Hopefully he was giving them directions about the two remaining performances the choir has in Hungary.
The Singers participate in two masses Sunday and Monday, and then head out to Varazdin in Croatia. Hopefully, that will give me time to share some memories of the Czech Republic…and some great quotes that were overhead on the choir bus.