Most classes and rehearsals take place at a middle school, die Elisabethschule, located a couple blocks south of the dorm. The first day I was here I asked one of the faculty to give me directions and was told, "turn right out of the dorm, follow Elisabethstrasse for a couple of blocks--past a city park--and then look for a big building with lots of colors."
Indeed...it was hard to miss!
I wish my middle school had been this nifty! The front doors are at least twice my height and are made of a thick heavy wood accented with bolted curls of wrought iron. It takes a surprising amount of heft to open them. The back entrance that leads from the main building to the gym where the orchestra rehearses has character as well, but in a lopsided cartoonish sort of way. And check out the awesome chain link fence that surrounds the playground...
Our rehearsal room is just what you'd expect out of a typical grade-school gym, as well as being perfectly configured to act as a very efficient oven...even in the middle of the morning. After our rehearsal ended everyone had sweat-soaked clothing and red faces. Fortunately the stage crew spent some time removing a few of the window grills before we met again after lunch. With the grills gone it was then possible to get some relatively fresh air circulating through the room and mediate the worst of our suffering.
The school, as well as the street on which it sits, is named after Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837-1898) who married into the Habsburg royal family at the age of 15 and is known affectionately by her people as Sisi. She was an icon of beauty in her time, pursued by fashion and gossip magazines magazines as rabidly as Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston are today (poor girl), and according to my Deutsch Lehrerin (teacher), was one of the first people to be recognized historically as likely suffering from anorexia--maintaining a 20 inch waistline and emaciated frame by following a strict diet and exercise regimen. A reproduction of the painting at right hangs in my Deutsch classroom.
Alright, I'm just finishing up dinner (and a single tablespoon sized desert of nutella...mmmmm!) and then it's off to practice for me. Here's a very Austrian way to say goodbye: Tschüss!