Krakow roofscape (photo: Ludwig Schneider from Wikimedia Commons)

23–26 October 2014


‘The Armed Man’ in Poland

In the autumn of 2014 we visited the beautiful city of Krakow, Poland’s cultural capital, which miraculously escaped the devastation inflicted on other Polish cities during the Second World War. Our performance of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace was in St Catherine’s Church, a splendid building in High Gothic style situated in the Kazimierz district (which featured in the film Schindler’s List).

Brian Kay was our musical director for the trip, and we were lucky to be accompanied by a truly remarkable local chamber orchestra, Fresco Sonare. One of our prize-winning young soloists, Angharad Lyddon, was the mezzo-soprano soloist.

Aside from the music, the highlight for many was a deeply moving visit to Auschwitz, some 30 miles to the west of Krakow, and scene of some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust.  We also visited the extraordinary salt mines at Wieliczka, which included the Chapel of the Blessed Kinga in which every single element, from chandeliers to altarpieces, is carved from salt.  No Scratch trip is complete without a feast, and we dined after the concert on traditional Polish cuisine (including mushroom soup served inside a loaf of bread), and were entertained by local folk musicians and dancers.

Comments from participants:
‘I shall never forget our concert and the wonderful musicians making super music. I wish that we could have that orchestra again!’ ASW, Poole
‘I was really impressed with all the organisation relating to the Krakow trip, and must congratulate all of you on your hard work and efficiency. It was a truly remarkable four days.’ BN, Kingsbridge

Click here to see a selection of photos taken during the trip.