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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star


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Bobcat Orchestra takes European tour


Star File Photo

The Texas State Chamber Orchestra recently graced the Eastern hemisphere with its classical performances as it toured three different countries over seven days.
The orchestra’s European tour included a total of three concerts. The concerts began in Budapest, Hungary at the MOM Cultural Center, continued in Vienna, Austria at the Parish Church in Laxenburg and ended in Prague, Czech Republic at the Martinu Hall of the Academy of Music.
It has been 9 years since the TSCO partook in a trip of this length and distance. However, this year, 32 students and 4 faculty members were able to travel to Europe due to the support from the school and money raised through donations and fundraising activities.
Dr. Carolyn Watson, director of orchestral studies, conducted the concerts and said the Europe tour gave her students a valuable experience because the trip allowed them to play for a different crowd.
“The first concert in Budapest, I mean everyone was so excited that it was our first concert in Europe, and the audience was really great. They just like kept clapping and clapping and they totally wanted an encore, which made us feel really, really good,” Watson said.
Watson chose three pieces for the group to perform. She said these songs were meant to accommodate the smaller size of the participating orchestra. She kept the European audience in mind by picking more romantic and classical pieces.
The pieces were also meant to showcase the talent of the faculty soloist who took part in the tour.
Dr. Karla Hamelin, senior lecturer in cello, was featured in Astor Piazzolla’s “Adios Nonino,” but said her greatest experience of the trip was being able to see her students take on a new and culture.
“My favorite part of the trip is summed up in two parts. First, seeing the meaningful exchange of different languages between the students and locals. Second, seeing my students navigate a foreign country and figure out the very different transportation systems,” Hamelin said.
Hamelin said the trip was an opportunity for the students to step away from their everyday life and look at the world differently.
During the tour, students were able to learn about the history and culture of sites such as the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest, Mozart’s house in Vienna and the Old Royal Palace in Prague.
Eric Puente, music education senior, said although he enjoyed exploring and learning about other cultures, his experience with the concerts taught him the most.
“Being able to play in all the different concert venues that we played definitely taught us a lot about how different we sound in different places,” Puente said. “And we learned a lot about their culture through the concerts as well, like how each city treats and appreciates this kind of music.”
Puente is grateful for the experience and said this European tour made him grow both as a person and a musician.

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