After long discussion we decided on a week in Kracow in Poland for our 2018 tour. Yet again we were blessed with hot and sunny weather and soon set about exploring that beautiful city – a highlight for many was discovering Polish cuisine, especially “pierogi”, a kind of dumpling filled with either meat or cheese.
Our first concert was a three hour coach journey away in the city of Częstochowa, famed in Poland as the location of the Jasna Góra Monastery and its miraculous icon of the Black Madonna.
Visiting the Monastery before the concert we were guided around by an affable monk who arranged for us to be present at the daily ritual of the unveiling of the icon, after which we teamed up with the local male choir.
The concert was a huge success, the Polish National Anthem reverberating around the hall from both choirs and audience and the Polish Choir joining us for “Gwahoddiad” in excellent Welsh.
After the concert, our hosts invited us to a gargantuan supper where at some point we all sang Verdi’s “Speed your Journey” simultaneously in English, Polish and Italian!
Back in Kracow and our second concert was in the baroque Church of Saints Peter and Paul with a smaller but equally appreciative audience.
During the course of the week choristers sang in restaurants and cafes and in the hotel, but also visited some of the more sombre sights of the city including the former Jewish quarter and the Emalia Factory where Oskar Schindler shielded hundreds of Jewish workers.