Thursday, June 12, 2014

Basel Day 6: Auf Wiedersehen!

Sunday, our last full day in Basel, brought the close of this year's European Youth Choir Festival. Over the course of a very memorable week, YPC gave almost a dozen performances in and around Basel to audiences of thousands of people, was featured on Swiss television twice, and shared the stage with hundreds of other singers from around Europe and the world. We heard both familiar music and pieces that we had never encountered before (and that we might never hear again), and we were affirmed in our conviction that music can bring people together no matter where they come from. To top it off, we also had a wonderful time exploring Switzerland!

The culminating concert of the Festival featured every participating choir. Each ensemble shared a song that was representative of its musical traditions and culture. YPC was proud to offer Bridge Over Troubled Water for this performance.

YPC performs in the closing concert of the European Youth Choir Festival in Basel

For many choristers, one of the highlights of the trip was having the opportunity to stay with local families in Basel. Our homestays were incredibly generous, not only welcoming YPC singers into their homes but going above and beyond to make them feel like part of the family. Ikey from Young Men writes about his homestay experience below:

"Despite our cultural and linguistic differences, we managed to befriend some of the coolest Swiss people because of the homestay situation. With the teenagers, we bonded over “like eh meh-gik wind” and “uf e geile obe”! With the parents, we discussed how different family life was in America. On Sunday, after our final concert, Josh and I met our homestay family for mini-golf and ice cream, after which we went to a restaurant overlooking Basel and the Alps, where we petted horses and debated whether Swiss or American barbecue was better. As the sun set, we hiked up a small mountain, upon which there was a castle, circa 1400.

The 2014 Basel tour wasn’t only a brief foreign visit for the European Youth Choir Festival; it was an unparalleled adventure in cultural immersion. It is a tour that I find myself coming away from with a profound melancholy, rather than the typical tired happiness that comes with returning home. Although tours are often a time when YPC becomes closer as a family, on this trip we find ourselves with an extended family. Many of us have invited our homestays to our homes in New York, just as much out of verified inclination than out of gratitude."

--Ikey, 18 years old

Thank you to our wonderful hosts, the Festival staff and organizers, and everyone who contributed to making this trip possible! It is one that YPC will always remember!

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