Memorable days have consistently occurred throughout our tour of Southeast Asia, and today was no exception. This morning we began the day with breakfast at our hotel and then drove to the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Conservatory of Music. We spent a couple of hours at this location getting to know the choir of this beautiful school. Together both choirs rehearsed When the Trumpet Sounds which they will be performing together tomorrow night. Then the HCMC Conservatory of Music Choir performed a piece for us, and BYU Singers returned the favor. It was an uplifting experience getting to know this choir a little more. After singing together, BYU Singers went through a few staging concerns for the concert they had tonight at this same location.
Once our rehearsal ended at the HCMC Conservatory of Music, we then did a little sightseeing before lunch. We first visited the Reunification Palace which served as the residence and workspace for the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. We then went to the Notre Dame Cathedral which also had a post office across the street where some members of the choir were able to send off post cards from Vietnam to family back home.
After spending a short time at each of these sights, we visited the War Remnants Museum. This was probably the most emotional and stirring sight we have yet to see on this tour. We all walked through rooms within the museum filled with relics of the Vietnam War. We viewed image upon image of poignant scenes from the Vietnam War. It was a very humbling experience walking through this museum and reading about the stories of the individuals involved in this war.
After visiting the War Remnants Museum, we went to lunch at a lovely local restaurant near the museum. The staff at this restaurant was very friendly and accommodating. We’ve been very lucky to have meals at these incredible places with such caring staff. Once our meal ended, we then went back to the hotel so the choir could prepare for their concert tonight. During this midday break, a few members of the choir went to a local market where dozens of tiny shops are set up. They took some time to browse the many items and purchase (after bartering the prices down) a few souvenirs for loved ones back home.
Before heading back to the HCMC Conservatory of Music, we were taken to dinner at another restaurant that was outdoors. Luckily, the weather was pleasant tonight so no one was uncomfortable while eating. We then returned to the HCMC Conservatory of Music where BYU Singers had their first of two performances in this location. Tonight was BYU Singers alone, and tomorrow night they will be performing side by side with the choir from this university. The audience was visibly moved by the performance, especially during Nguoi O Dung Ve which has been a crowd favorite ever since our arrival in Vietnam. We are looking forward to tomorrow when the choir will have another performance in this same venue, but with different repertoire and undoubtedly another incredible audience.