Compared to our last few days of being in Indonesia, today was a rather relaxing day. We all had to wake up around 5:30 AM in order to be on time to catch our train from Jakarta to Bandung, our next tour destination. This city sits in a higher elevation than Jakarta, which helps us all survive the weather a little bit easier. Although it is still very humid, there is a consistent breeze in the air and cooler temperatures, which makes for a happy choir.
Our train ride was around three-and-a-half hours long, but the sights were incredible along the way. The island of Java, Indonesia boasts very thick vegetation all throughout the country side along with rice field after rice field. Audible gasps came from the choir as they enjoyed the scenery of mountainsides that would spontaneously emerge from behind the trees.
Once we arrived in Bandung, we gathered on buses to head to the Prama Grand Preanger hotel where a delicious meal was waiting for us. The lunch was complete with simple Indonesian dishes such as creamy chicken soup, rice, beef, chicken, and a pasta with several spices mixed in.
After the meal, we spent the rest of our day at the Saung Angklung Udjo. This is a wonderful place where BYU Singers had a special opportunity to learn about some music native to the Indonesians. The angklung is a percussive instrument which the player shakes at the base in order to create a pitch from the bamboo striking the frame holding the instrument together. Each angklung is tuned to one specific note, so each Singer received a different pitch and they all worked together to make one complete song. While we were all learning about the angklung, we received a special visit from Elder and Sister Grant, the full-time missionaries assigned to serve currently in Bandung.
After the demonstration, we went over to the main building at the Saung Angklung Udjo to enjoy a performance in which many young people (the youngest of them only two-years-old!) performed with the angklung. The closing piece was an arrangement of a universally recognized song—Bohemian Rhapsody. This arrangement was unlike any we had heard previously as it was performed by ten young players each with several angklungs in front of them. After a thunderous applause, the young people who performed earlier in the night gathered many audience members in a final dance together. The love that filled the room as these young children danced with BYU Singers was a moment none of us will soon forget.