The Reformed School Choir of Pecs had Choral Performances in Cleveland
The Reformed School Choir of Pecs dedicated their performance to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. The choir comprised of 46 members and were invited by the First Hungarian Reformed Church. The leaders and members of the church, and also the Hungarian community of Cleveland made a lot of preparations for this event for months. By the work and generous support of different churches, especially the Lorain and West Side Reformed churches, and the Cleveland Hungarian organizations and the Hungarian Government, the choir held two performances in the United States.
The Choir of the Reformed School of Pecs was established in 1995 and they travelled throughout many locations, however, it was the first time that they performed in North America. On August 17th the Hungarian Reformed Church of Lorain and on August 18th the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Walton Hills hosted the choir members and teachers of the Reformed High School.
The teachers and the students arrived the afternoon of Wednesday, August 16th from Budapest to Toronto and then, five hours later, they arrived to Cleveland by bus they have rented. The students were hosted by generous and helpful families, and the teachers were hosted in a hotel sponsored by generous church members. Among the teachers were Dr. Péter Kádár Executive Director, Péter Molnár School Principal, Tamás Pap Conductor, Dr. Judit Hoppálné Erdő teacher, Kinga Megyesi-Schwartz English teacher, and Miklós Gaibl assistant. On Thursday and Friday the event organizers made every effort to show the different sights of the City of Cleveland to the students and the teachers. After a short shopping trip the choir members and teachers travelled to the Galleria where they tasted real American foods and then they visited the Hungarian Museum.
Thursday afternoon they visited the famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the “fortress” of the American music history. They saw the many famous artists’ clothes, instruments, and personal items, such as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Elton John, Jimmy Hendricks, and Taylor Swift. They could watch films about the famous old concerts and they could listen to the hundreds of discs of those they liked. At the top of the Hall of Fame the students and teachers could gaze at one of the Five Lakes, our Lake Erie.
On Friday the choir visited the Hungarian Cultural Garden. Then the Natural History Museum gave many wonderful surprises for the group. They could see exhibitions of ancient customs, ethnic groups, and animals. In the outdoor mini zoo they could befriend with today’s birds and animals. After visiting the museum the owners of the Balaton Restaurant hosted and provided the choir with delicious Hungarian style foods. The choir sang the Table Blessing which was greatly appreciated by the guests of the restaurant.
In the afternoon, the choir visited the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church where Ft. Andras Antal priest warmly welcomed the group and gave a presentation of the history of the church and the Hungarians who lived on the Buckeye Road. The last stop of the Friday sightseeing was the old Reformed Cathedral, the previous building of our church, to which we are so proud of.
The most important, on both days, was the evening choral performance. They entered into the sanctuaries with singing the Laudate Omnes Gentes Taize song. Then they lined up in four with the leading of Conductor Tamas Pap. In the repertoire there were mostly Hungarian songs and hymns, as well as, English. Many songs and hymns were from the Hungarian Reformed Hymnal. We could hear the beautiful musical compositions of Claude Goudimel, Maróthi György, Gárdonyi Zoltán, Berkesi Sándor, Kodály Zoltán, Johann Sebastian Bach, Tillai Aurél, Pap Tamás és Michael Praetorius. A short English description or Bible passage was read right before each song and hymn. At the beginning of the performance in Lorain Rev. Peter Toth Dean of the Lakeside Classis and Rt. Rev. Dr. Csaba Krasznai in Walton Hills greeted the guests along with Dr. Peter Kadar who expressed his heartfelt thank you to those who organized the event and provided generous support. The collected donations were offered to support the new building project of the Reformed School of Pecs. At the end of the performance the guests burst into applause and thanked the students for the wonderful work they did. The finale was that the forty member choir stood around the pews of the sanctuary in a huge circle and they said good bye with a beautiful English song, Viva La Vida (Coldplay).
Both the members of the Lorain and Walton Hills church prepared a delicious supper and then a reception which gave opportunity to have personal conversations and to get to know the choir better. The choir continued their trip on Saturday morning and travelled back to Toronto.
We strongly believe that the performances and the time that many of us spent with the choir gave a long lasting and pleasant experience. Since we could not keep them here with us for good so they would lead us in singing the hymns at the Sunday worship services, as Rt. Rev. Dr. Csaba Krasznai expressed it in his greetings, then we highly recommend this wonderful choir to others, too.