Editor's notes: Grace Grunstra is a member of the East Tennessee Children's Choir (ETCC). Her older sister Rachel sings with the Highlands Youth Ensemble (HYE). The girls live in Bristol, Virginia.
Grace will accompany Rachel and the HYE to Hungary.
To read what the older choir members have to say about the upcoming trip, click here: http://artsmagazine.info/articles.php?view=detail&id=2007042420153958888
A! Magazine: You are getting to go with the HYE to Hungary before you even join the group! How is that happening? Will you be their mascot?
Grace Grunstra: Last year we drove to Johnson City for ETCC practice at 4 p.m., we stayed in town to eat dinner, then drove to HYE's practice instead of going back home in between. So I went to the HYE practices last year and helped out with warm-ups and by running errands. It was lots more fun than homework! I even got to go on the trip to New York City when HYE sang at Carnegie Hall. I think I will be their "go-fer" whenever they really need one.
A!: Shopping in Hungary should be fun. What do you hope to buy there? Will you be buying gifts for people back home?
Grace: I hope to buy things that aren't too expensive but represent Hungary, things I can't get here in Bristol, maybe something to wear or a toy for my younger sisters.
A!: While in the Pecs, Budapest and Vienna, what do you look forward to seeing, doing, eating? Where will you stay? Do you know of any museums, concerts, plays, or other events you will get to do on this trip?
Grace: While the HYE choir stays in the school's dormitory in Pecs, I will be at the Hotel Palatinus with my mom and dad. We have talked about going to the wine region and to the Turkish baths while the choir practices for the competition. No "go-fering" those days! In Budapest, I think we are staying at a really nice hotel in the center of town, and we're supposed to have a dinner cruise on the Danube River. I hope we go to some museums and maybe a concert, an opera or play. But a play in Hungarian might not mean much to me!
A!: What other cultures have you already learned about? Have you traveled outside our area before? Where?
Grace: I haven't been outside the U.S. yet, but I went to New York City, and that's almost like another culture! In the spring and summer of 2005 my family camped all over the Midwest for 2-1⁄2 months. We went to 25 states and 19 national parks. America is so big compared to Hungary. Mike Bus, a Hungarian from Kingsport, said that Tennessee is closest to the size of Hungary, so Hungary is very small compared to the U.S.
A!: What do you think the HYE should do for the Pecs choir when they come to America in 2008 so they get a good cultural experience in our area?
Grace: Maybe take them to the Appalachian mountains -- Gatlinburg or Grandfather Mountain -- and go to a clogging/fiddling concert. We MUST teach them "Rocky Top"!!!
A!: Great ideas, Grace!