At the end of the Spring Term the University Orchestra & Chorus went on tour to Slovenia. This was an excellent choice of destination – a brave, small country with an inspiring history. A mixture of students and non-students, some of whom were Warwick alumni, made up the tour group of 96 members who either travelled by coach or flew from Luton/Stansted to Ljubljana.
The Hotel Park in Ljuljana was well situated being within walking distance of the city centre - both the old and the new - and accessible for transporting instruments and luggage. There were many restaurants within the city which served wonderful traditional menus at a fraction of the expected cost. The question, ‘Are you sure?’ was frequently heard when the final bills were presented. Euros went a long way in Slovenia!
Whilst performing was the purpose of the tour, days off enabled everyone to spend a sunny first day at Lake Bled, walking around the perimeter, being transported in a pletna, a gondola–style rowboat and marvelling at the spectacular snow clad mountain scenery. Other visits included the dramatic Postojna Caves - an underground world of passages, halls and galleries - and a delightful last day spent at the small fishing port of Piran where sampling the excellent fish restaurants provided a memorable experience.
Prior to the Celje performance, Claudie Combelas, Head of Alumni Engagement, sent an email to all Warwick alumni living in Slovenia informing them of the forthcoming tour and encouraging them to attend the performances. The works being performed included Stravinsky’s Firebird and Haydn’s Creation, firstly in the Church of St Jakob, Ljubljana and two days later in the Civic Hall, Celje.
|Celje Civic Hall -venue for final performance|
Gregor Loncar, MBA 2007-12 and currently working for IBM in Ljubljana, not only attended the first performance but also liaised with Olly Crook, President of the Orchestra and tour manager, to host everyone in Celje, his home town.
Prior to the performance Gregor led a cavalcade of two 53 seater coaches up a steep, narrow and winding road to Celje Castle where a re-enactment had been arranged. In the evening the Orchestra and Chorus performed to a capacity audience and included Mozart’s Ave Verum in tribute to the people of Belgium following the recent bombings in Brussels.
At the end of the performance presentations from the people of Celje were made to Paul McGrath & Lucy Griffiths, Director and Deputy Director of Music at Warwick. Paul thanked the people of Celje for their support and hospitality, highlighting the contribution made by Gregor, whose actions had enhanced the experiences of the Orchestra & Chorus.
Juliet Amery, representing Alumni Engagement and also a Warwick alumna and member of Chorus, then gave a copy of Imagining a University, published during the celebration of the University’s 50th anniversary, to Gregor in recognition of his wonderful contributions to the success of the Tour.
|End of tour concert in Celje Civic Hall where Paul, Lucy, Juliet & Gregor are joined by Felix Smith, President of the Chorus and Olly Crook, President of the Orchestra|