Overview: AMIS visits Salzburg, the city of music


1st Day (Sightseeing Day)
The day after arrival in Austria was reserved for sightseeing and touring. SIS students traveled with those from Chadwick International (CI) across the Austria-Germany border to the Kehlsteinhaus, a Third Reich building that sits at the summit of Kehlstein Mountain. The first stop was a memorial site atop the mountain for Nazi victims. Once the tour group descended the Kehlstein, it visited the German town of Berchtesgaden, where the students had a quick lunch and purchased souvenirs.

As the iconic setting of the “The Sound of Music,” Salzburg is home to many famous filming locations. The SIS musicians dropped by the gardens of the Hellbrunn Palace to observe the Gazebo in which the love scene between Maria and Georg and the song “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” were shot.

The final destination for the tour was the historic Altstadt Salzburg, known as Salzburg’s Old City. A paid tour guide took the entire group around the location, stopping by some of the most famous city sites such as Mozart’s Birthplace and the Getreidegasse, the bustling shopping street of the Old City.

After a few hours around the Altstadt, the tour group visited Zum fidelen Affen, a restaurant well known for its delicious local food. SIS students enjoyed a full course meal at the store, a pleasant way to conclude the eventful sightseeing day.

2nd Day
The second day of AMIS was a full rehearsal day. Chamber Strings stayed in the JUFA hotel—the AMIS members’ place of residence—to rehearse, while Symphony Orchestra and Band took a morning walk to the Mozarteum Orchestra House to use its rehearsal halls. With a short lunch break in between, the musicians practiced about seven to eight hours, spending time getting to know each other and the music. Chamber Strings players were given the opportunity to go on a midday organized walk to the Hohensalzburg Fortress’s observatory. All AMIS participants spent their first festival evening either relaxing at the hotel or taking a walk around the Getreidegasse.

3rd Day
Much of the third day of the festival was dedicated to orchestra practice but was comparatively less rigorous than the day before. Large instruments had to be packed up and loaded onto a truck for transportation to the concert hall, and the AMIS committee had allocated the evening hours to more sightseeing activities in Salzburg, cutting the rehearsals short.

For the evening walking tour, the AMIS students divided into 12 groups, each assigned a local tour guide. The groups revisited the Getreidegasse and took a walk around the city while learning more about the history and traditions behind the Getreidegasse’s architecture. A mini organ recital held in the Franziskaner Church added an interesting touch to the tour: many students had never heard the organ in real life before, and listening to a professional organist perform in one of the oldest churches in Salzburg was a special experience for all.

4th Day (Concert Day)
After just three days of practicing as an entire group, all the AMIS participants convened in the Mozarteum for the concert. Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Strings, and Band ran through their pieces on stage to check the concert hall’s acoustics and resonance. The three musical groups dined at separate restaurants for lunch—Symphony Orchestra members, being the first to finish rehearsal, had a significant amount of time left over before the concert to further explore the Getreidegasse and its vintage shops.

The floor seats of the Mozarteum were packed with family members, school music directors, and locals interested in watching the AMIS orchestras perform. Lasting around two hours, the gala concert ran along smoothly and successfully. The musicians celebrated the end to a fruitful four days with a festive dinner back at the JUFA.