Chorale to tour Europe

By Chris Kellogg-Peeler ’15

Chorale members will be kicking off their summers with nine days of singing during their tour of Iceland, Sweden, and Finland. The tour, from June 11-20, will include 32 members of the Chorale, including Chorale Director Joseph Horning and chaperones English Department Head Sharon Krauss and Counselor Douglas Neuman.

In past years, the Chorale has gone on six other tours, singing in England, Spain, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Slovenia.

According to Mr. Horning, Sweden was chosen because “[it] has a very strong chorale tradition that’s been robust for over 60 years.” He explains, “Swedish choirs frequently win prizes at international competitions. The tour company, Concept Tours, suggested going through Iceland to Sweden. Iceland, in addition to having natural, geographic beauty, also has a lot of very interesting folk music.”

According to Julia Taibl ’13, everyone in the chorale is very excited for the tour. “You do not get many opportunities to go to those countries, and to go with a group of people the same age is really great,” she says. Becky Higgins ’13 adds, “It’s a really exciting opportunity to travel and sing.”

“I am excited to explore new places with a bunch of curious, eager students,” says second-time chaperone Ms. Krauss.

Mr. Neuman, who chaperoned the previous two tours, adds, “I am very excited for the tour, because the chorale sounds great, and it is a great group of people.”

The tour will begin in Reykjavik, Iceland, move on to Stockholm and Ubsala, Sweden, and finish in Aland, Finland, an island off the coast of Sweden. According to Mr. Neuman, the Chorale will be performing in small churches and sharing their musical program with local groups. The audience will be comprised of local townspeople, who will be drawn by posters advertising the program and the friends and family of the local groups.

Becky says, “It’s pretty informal: It’s not like we’re going to compete in a festival against other chorales. We are going to share our music.”

According to Julia, the set list is 45 minutes long, which includes about 15 or 16 songs. She says, “Our set list includes a lot of American songs, because Mr. Horning says that the audience will be looking forward to songs from America. So we have some classical and a lot of gospel songs.”

Becky adds that they have learned two songs in Swedish in preparation for the tour. She says, “We hope to share some of our culture and learn something about theirs.”

According to Ms. Krauss, the chorale will stay active even when not performing. She says, “A packed itinerary is planned for us. We’ll get to see some of the wacky landscape of Iceland, and I think we’re scheduled for a little quality time in the famous hot springs. In Sweden, we’ll spend the bulk of our time in Stockholm, which I hear is a gorgeous, dynamic city.”

Becky is also excited for the cultural aspect of the trip. “[When not singing, I look forward to] exploring the cities and their cultures,” she says.

“I don’t know how much free time we [will] have on the tour, but I hope to do some shopping,” Julia adds.

Ms. Krauss is confident that the Chorale will wow the audience on the tour. She says, “I love music, and I try to go to as many musical performances at BB&N as I can. I heard the Chorale last Saturday [April 28], and I thought they sounded especially robust and richly textured.”

“In the meantime,” says Mr. Horning, “we’ve got a lot of work to do on our Swedish accent. Swedish pronunciation is extremely challenging. We’ve had help from an old BB&N parent who was from Sweden. She has helped me with my pronunciation and I have transferred that to my students.”

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