Orff Institute Day 1 & Sound of Music Tour

Tour & Classes at the Orff Institute

After breakfast at our hotel we caught a local bus for a short 15 minute trip to the Orff Institute.  The long block walk from the bus stop has a picture postcard view of the Alps and dead ends at the back of the Fromberg Palace.  This quaint yellow home is now the dormitory for the Orff Institute, but the front of it is recognizable as the villa of Captain von Trapp with the circular drive at the end of the long lane where Maria sang I Have Confidence as she skipped toward her new job as the nanny for the children in "The Sound of Music."  We walked around the building and took photos before reporting next door to the Institute for the morning's activities

We were greeted by Director Sonja Stibi, who gave us a short tour of the facilities, then she turned us over to Ari Glage (pictured below with Dr. Julie Scott) for our body percussion lesson.  We started with easy patterns and developed increasingly more difficult layers of rhythm.  Each was so carefully built upon itself that we were successful at every level, even those in our group who were not music educators.  

We took a short break for coffee or water and then went downstairs into one of the dance studios for a wonderful folk dance lesson with Andrea Ostertag.  She taught a set of folk dances from across Europe.  See the Videos of our class doing each dance below, thanks to Shawn Chou.

Branle de Champagne (France)

Sirdes (Armenia)


The Hills Are Alive!

Merkur is a local grocery chain that also has a small cafeteria.  There is one right at the bus stop near the Orff Institute, so we walked back down the block for lunch.  Afterward, Nico, our handsome coach driver appeared in front of the store with our Tour Guide, Antonio.  We climbed aboard and spent the afternoon on the iconic "Sound of Music" Tour seeing sights that featured prominently in the movie.

Most of the interiors were shot on a sound stage in Hollywood, but most of the exteriors were shot in and around Salzburg and the city has embraced it's connection and the interest visitors have in these locations.  This tour is complete with video clips and a sing-a-long to the favorites of the sound track.

Since we had already seen the Fromberg Palace in the morning, we started the tour at the Hellbrunn Palace where the gazebo now sits.  It is locked, so you can only stand outside for a quick photo. The Palace grounds are beautiful and the buildings have been restored, so they are worth a separate trip to see the whole grounds.  This tour only stops long enough for the gazebo photo.

The next photo stop was for the Nonnberg Abby.  Again, only the exterior entrance to the Abby was used in the movie, as it was a working nunnery then and continues to operate in that capacity today, so visitors to the inside are prohibited.

Next stop was the Mirabell Gardens.  This beautiful public park featured heavily in the Do, Re, Mi sequences.  Today we could only stand on the upper portion of the famous steps, above the gate, for our recreation of the scene with robust singing!

Afterward, we headed out of the city into the Lake District, about a half an hour from the center of Salzburg, through quaint Alpine villages, past the international headquarters of Red Bull, we stopped in the town of Mondsee (Moon Lake) and visited the church that was used for the wedding scene in "Sound of Music."  It is an ornate Baroque church with black marble and gold accents on the altarpieces.  Having taken the scenic route out there, we got on the highway to hurry back to Salzburg to make our dinner reservation with Mozart!

Dinner with Mozart

We make a quick change of clothes and headed through the Old Town to St. Peter's Keller for the Mozart Dinner.  As touristy as it sounds, the evening is really quick excellent!  All of the recipes are from the period.  We had great bread with a variety of spreads, a duck and watercress salad, roasted veal with tomato risotto and a wonderful dessert.  Between courses we were entertained by a string quintet and two singers (pictured below) who performed what can only be described as "Mozart's Greatest Hits."  The musicians were surprisingly good and performed on period instruments.  The group really enjoyed it and the singers really played up their operatic roles.  It was a fun way to end our first full day in Austria.

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