Thursday, April 4, 2013

Schola Tour of Poland: Part 2

The Schola's tour of Poland continued today with the visit in the morning to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. There had been a lot of preparation for this day, including meeting with an Auschwitz survivor, the wonderful Mrs Ebert, who came to speak to the Schola in March. Nothing can fully prepare you for visiting Auschwitz, however, and it was inevitably a rather harrowing but unquestionably very important experience.

The younger boys explored the more convivial atmosphere of a science museum before we all regrouped at the hotel and then traveled to Arka Pana, in Nova Huta. Nova Huta, the New Town, was built in the 1950s by the Communist authorities as a model village - and as such it was built without a church, the first town in Poland ever to be without a place of worship. The people refused to accept the absence of a church, however, and would gather in fields each Sunday to celebrate Mass, often led by Karol Józef Wojtyła, then Archbishop of Krakow, and of course later Pope John Paul II. Faced with open dissent from the people, the Communist authorities relented and allowed, in the 1970s, the building of the Arka Pana. This is regarded as a major step in the eventual defeat of Communism. The church was built entirely by volunteers and is dominated by a huge sculpture of Christ that was cast by steel workers, using scrap steel.

The Schola sang Mass at the Arka Pana, singing music by Soriano, Palestrina, Elgar and Tallis, and then gave a short recital afterwards to a very appreciative congregation, singing music by Stanford, Bruckner, Handel and Gorecki.

The Christ sculpture can be seen in this short clip from the recital after the Mass (the Schola are singing Bruckner's Ave Maria).

This is the end of Tallis' O Sacrum Convivium, sung during Communion at the Mass this evening.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home