International Harmony

The Poway Symphonette and Poway Community Choir have returned from a whirlwind musical adventure through Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg. The groups performed both individually and together at St. Peter’s Church in Vienna, Melk Monastery, and Mozarteum Great Hall and Salzburg Cathedral as part of the 20th Annual International Cantus Music and Culture Festival. They also performed in nearby St. Gilgen. Touring members ranged in age from 13 to 75.

“My favorite experience was our first concert at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Vienna,” shared Gayle McCutchan, principal second violin in the Symphonette. She has been with the group for three years. “The cathedral was so beautiful and holy that I barely held it together to play our program. The acoustics were amazing and it was a truly a once-in-a-lifetime performance.”

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Violist Kathleen Heaps was excited to open the international concert at the Mozarteum. “It was so meaningful to not only open the concert but also to play in such an amazing and historical venue,” she said. “For me personally, it was such a highlight and something I never could have imagined doing when I picked up the viola again less than six years ago.”

“My favorite experience was playing with other musicians of all ages, and the mutual respect amongst all of us,” said violinist Summer Perry, who is starting ninth grade at Poway High School this fall. “Being one of the youngest people in the group, it felt as if there were no age differences.”

Bruce Allen, also a violinist and incoming freshman at Poway High School, described the closing ceremony of the festival in Salzburg. “When the end of the ceremony came around, and the official festivities were over, something truly magical happened. All these people from around the globe gradually got out of their seats, stood up, and held hands. We all began to sway back and forth and sing the Song of Peace, a song almost every group knew, and made beautiful music together.”