Lisa and I recently had the pleasure of visiting our son and daughter-in-law in Germany and seeing our new twin grandsons. That, of course, more than justified the trip and ranks as one of the great experiences of life, but we also made a side trip, a sentimental journey really, to Salzburg, Austria, where I served a portion of my mission fifty years ago, described in my memoir, All Enlisted. It is still the most beautiful city in the world–more of that in a future post!
A short train or bus ride over the border into the Bavarian alps lies the small, picturesque health resort of Bad Reichenhall. We did not have time to search out the actual place where I used to live, but we did stroll around the garden and spontaneously attend an afternoon concert, not noticing at first that the trio we bought tickets for was an unusual one: violin, cello, and banjo. Banjo?
To our great enjoyment, the Trio Violanjo consists of three brilliant young musicians whose style and repertoire cannot fail to entertain and inspire. The program that day consisted of pieces by Nash (“I Can See Clearly Now”), McCartney (“Eleanor Rigby”), Bach, Mozart, Joplin, and others, including compositions by the banjo picker himself, Manuel Stocks. Each song was a pleasure to hear, with excellent harmonies, ensemble, and chord progressions. The banjo itself was reminiscent at times of a harpsichord, so the overall impression ranged from solid Classical to Celtic to Bluegrass. For this American in the audience it was a perfect blend of Old and New worlds.
Be sure to watch for these performers: Manuel Stocks, Tanja Kronheim, and Rita Mascaros. Several of their pieces are available on YouTube. They cannot fail to please the ear. Learn more about them on their respective Facebook pages, as well as the group’s website, https://violanjo.wordpress.com/trio-violanjo/
p.s. I anticipate posting large portions of my mission memoir here and on one of my Facebook pages. Watch for them. Also available at Amazon in softcover or kindle edition: https://www.amazon.com/All-Enlisted-Missionary-Austria-Vietnam/dp/1516911288
p.p.s. Here is a link to a very nice sample of their CD: