The University Chorale traveled to Germany and Austria over the summer to give seven performances over a 10-day period, spending about a day or two in each place.
They did not have much leisure time – or rehearsal time – because of the time it took to travel between places.
Most of their rehearsals took place in hotels, wherever they could, or on the bus.
“Sometimes we would rehearse in the hotel breakfast area because there was nowhere else to go,” Rachel Aspey, a senior Chorale member, said.
In Germany, they visited Bretton, Heidelberg and Frankfurt. And they visited Salzburg, Melk and Vienna in Austria.
They had a performance at each location, maintaining a busy schedule of traveling by bus or train.
The members woke up at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. each day. And each day was planned for them: where they would eat lunch and dinner and where they would tour for the day.
“We did a lot of tours whether they were walking tours or riding tours,” junior broadcast major and president of the Chorale Preston Parker said.
“We saw Cici’s palace, Melk Abbey, and the castle used in the filming of ‘The Sound of Music.’”
In Bretton, they performed Renaissance-style music for the Peter und Paul Festival, while dressed in an array of renaissance costumes.
The annual festival attracts large crowds of people every year, and includes dancing and singing.
“It’s a mixture of people from the city, to tourists, basically anyone who happened to stop by,” Parker said.
The audience at the festival was also very responsive to their performance.
“We had this moment where we could feel how much the audience loved the performance and we would see audience members with tears running down their face,” said Irene Messoloras, director of choral activities and vocal studies.
“They performed well, they engaged with their audience… Not only we were able to show our school in a great light, but also our country.”
Parker said the trip was a great bonding experience for the chorale members as well.
“Everyone in Germany and Austria were so nice and very polite, but it was interesting to see how different they are,” Aspey said.
“There wasn’t a great feeling of anti-Americanism (despite )political tensions that the world has, but at times it felt like there were some moments where it felt like, ‘Oh, you are from America,” Messoloras said.
Messoloras added that she saw the choir serving as ambassadors for the school and the U.S. to show the diversity of our culture.
They have been invited to perform in Germany again next year, as well as participate in the Peter und Paul festival again.
They have also been invited to perform in France.
“Breathtaking scenery, amazing music, amazing people. Just a wonderful culture, it was a great experience,” Parker added.
Danielle Harren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.