Alright, here's the skinny on the traveling this summer ... the extended version. Prepare. Grab a cup of hot chocolate. Put on your pajamas and slippers. Grab that favorite pillow that you love to nestle under your forearms. Ready? I'll give you a few more minutes. No hurry. Really.
*cue flashback music*
Last summer during the MasterWorks Festival (Christian performing arts festival) a guest faculty member spoke about a similar festival taking place in Hungary which was called the Crescendo Summer Institute and was in need of horn players, violinists and Christians in general. Several of my friends went and although it seemed like a great idea to me, they didn't need any oboists, I had already been to Ireland that summer and funds were low ... plus I wanted to go because my friends were going, not really because the Lord was calling me, blah blah blah. Several of my American friends met some European friends at this festival. They stayed in touch.
In Decemberish, one of those American friends traveled to Finland to join a couple of the European friends. Together they wound up doing some impromptu living room concerts (like the old school salons for those music nerds reading this) and times of sharing their faith and their music and the blending of those two worlds. It was greatly received and very affective. The Spirit was definitely in those times.
These friends then shared a common vision of making that happen more often and with great purpose.
I saw the pictures and thought Finland was a place I now really needed to go. I told my friend Laura this. [She plays flute and currently lives in Boston attending the Longy school.] Laura told me about the vision and plans of theirs. I was sold.
*end flashback sequence*
Now here is what that plan is ... more or less.
In one week, I will travel with a cast of characters across the ocean to Helsinki and then on to Budapest, Hungary. My little crew in planning on arriving in Budapest on July 24. We will then go through some training and organizational days in Budapest at the headquarters of the Summer Institute with the people in charge of the festival (Fruszina). July 27th we will travel by train for a few hours northeast to Sárospatak which is the location of the Summer Institute. (I really hope I spelled that right.) We will be apparently living on the castle grounds and volunteering with the festival (ie. dorm parents, Bible study leaders, prayer group leaders, working with children, working in the office, organizing schedules,etc.) The Institute is two weeks long, culminating in a weekend of concerts (one of which our particular ensemble - the Halo Ensemble - will be featured performers). The Institute has top performers giving lessons and masterclasses to the students, chamber music, and orchestral rehearsals. In addition there are optional Bible studies for the students. But unlike the American "counterpart" of MasterWorks, the Bible studies are required.
[A little about the Summer Institute. It is sponsored by Crescendo, which is essentially the European performing arts arm of Campus Crusade for Christ. Crescendo is (I think) based in Switzerland.]
Following the Institute, the Halo Ensemble will travel to Helsinki (picking up a few new members and saying tearful "until we meet agains" to others) where we will give a few more concerts (in churches and coffee shops) before heading to northern Finland to the cottage of one of our group members for a little debriefing and R&R. We will be in Finland about 10 days. Part of our mission in Finland is called "Night of Faith." As I understand it, it's a weekend retreat-type for Christian performing artists in the area. A chance to fellowship, encourage, discuss and grow. The essential purpose of Night of Faith is to eventually establish a Crescendo branch in Finland -- this is the vision of Pauliina, one of our members. And our ensemble supports her in this!
After Helsinki, I and a couple of the other Americans will fly back to the States and head immediately to Baltimore for the wedding of two of our beloved MasterWorks-ers. Nothing like a MasterWorks wedding! Dr. Kavanaugh is so proud!
Now: To meet this cast of characters. These are the people coveting your prayers.
The Halo Ensemble presents:
Pauliina -- cellist, staff member with Crescendo, Finnish, heart for the Gospel and seekers
Laura -- flautist, one of the original three, American, wound up with the burden of organizing all this people into some coherent formation (bless her)
Caroline -- violinist, Canadian, unbelievable player, incredibly strong spirit - so gentle, and unyielding in the Truth, I'm not sure she sins. (I kid!)
Chiara -- violinist, Swiss, brilliant and bright Spirit, in Germany for the Hungary portion but joining us in Finland
Jenna -- violinist, teacher, American, faithful and excited
Bobby -- cellist, American, living in Cleveland, thoughtful, hilarious and a ladies' man
Carl -- bassoonist, American, living in Chicago, attending Wheaton, faithful, likes to climb trees
Jennifer -- pianist, American, living in D.C., beautiful in every way
Joy -- soprano, American, living in Indiana, works for CPAF (the MasterWorks people), true to her name
Michael -- violinist, violist, bagpiper, accordianist, American, comic relief with a sincere heart, has been living on a boat for the past six months
Christian -- violist, American, living in Austria, doing a chamber music thing with the Vienna Philharmonic this summer, joining us for only Hungary
Lara -- violist, American, joining us for Finland only
Bekah -- violist, American, Lara's sister, joining us for Finland only
Anna -- violinist, American, attended Crescendo last summer (pioneer), helping with rehearsals in America, getting married
Andrew -- saxophonist, Scottish fantasy, our prayer warrior, with us in Spirit and perhaps joining us somewhere along the way ...
Jacob -- French horn, American, attended Crescendo last summer, has a great heart to return this summer, attending Colburn in the fall, needs money
Jake -- violist and composer, MasterWorks kid, not traveling, but composing a piece for us to perform overseas ... his name travels with us, his beautiful wife is pregnant, pray for her and rejoice with them
Our personnel is changing daily, to be completely honest. But this is the most complete list I can think of. If you've made it this far, buy yourself a candy bar and don't even feel bad about it. Then pray for us all. We certainly need it! There are a lot of people and plans to coordinate; there are finances to be obtained; there's music to find; there are hearts to be awakened; there is love to be shared; there is Gospel to tell. There is so much to do! And we cannot do it without your prayer and support. There will also be so much more to come. Please join us!