Vienna, 7 April 2004 - At a reception held today, Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner bade farewell to the Vienna Boys’ Choir (Wiener Sängerknaben), who are setting out on a concert tour to India. Referring to the fact that the Foreign Ministry was the driving force behind this visit, the choir’s first to India in 26 years, the Foreign Minister said: "I am very happy that it was possible to organise this concert tour for you". Conducted by their Artistic Director, Gerald Wirth, the boys will give concerts in India’s three most important cities, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi. They have also been invited to give a private concert for India’s President Abdul Kalam.
Ferrero-Waldner very much enjoyed listening to the two Austrian and one Indian songs and said she was convinced that the boys would carry away the Indian audience with their perfectly rehearsed Austrian classics. In this context the Foreign Minister pointed to the important role played by the Boys’ Choir in connection with Austria’s reputation as a cultural nation: "I am convinced that you, as musical ambassadors of our country, will convey a very positive image of Austria in India."
Ferrero-Waldner thanked the staff of the Austrian Embassy in New Delhi for coordinating and organising the concert tour, underlining the fact that their commitment had made it possible to make this concert tour a reality and raise the funds for the project. "The people at our Embassy in India will accompany you during your visit and give you a taste of Indian culture", the Foreign Minister told the boys.
Last but not least, Ferrero-Waldner wished the Wiener Sängerknaben a Happy Easter and presented the boys with Easter bunnies to take with them on their trip so that they can celebrate a lovely Easter in far-away India, too.