Hendricks Chapel Choir to Perform in Germany and Poland

berlinThe Hendricks Chapel Choir will embark on a musical and cultural tour of Germany and Poland on Wednesday, May 15.

The 40-member choir, ranging from first-year students to graduate students, will perform a program of music from Central Europe—including German masters Bach, Brahms and Hassler and a motet by Polish contemporary composer Henry Gorecki—and American music, including African American spirituals, contemporary sacred music, a folk song, a Shaker tune and a song from a Broadway show, during concerts in churches in each country. The choir will close each concert with Peter Lutkin’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” sung in German while in Germany and Polish while in Poland.

The choir will give an informal recital at the Berlin Dom and perform at a service at the Gedächtniskirche in Berlin. Their first concert will take place at Loschwitz Parish Church in Bautzen, Germany. The choir will participate in Mass and give a concert in University Church in Wroclaw, Poland, and give a concert at St. Catherine’s Church in Krakow, Poland.

A website, choirtour2013.syr.edu, has been created to follow the progress of the tour and will feature photos and reflections from the choir members as they travel.

The choir will perform under the direction of John F. Warren, director of choral activities in the Setnor School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the choir’s conductor. The choir will be accompanied by Kola Owolabi, assistant professor in the Setnor School and University organist, and on percussion by Joshua Dekaney, instructor in the Setnor School.

The choir embarks on an international tour every four years so that each member of the choir has the opportunity to tour internationally during their time at SU. The choir toured Poland and the Czech Republic in 2001; China in 2005 and Argentina, Chile and Uruguay in 2009.

“The students are tremendous people and I am so proud for them to represent the chapel and Syracuse University in Europe,” says Warren. “Much of the music we are singing will be greatly enhanced by the vibrant acoustics in the historic churches. It should be great fun, and the music will come alive even more.”

During the trip, choir members will also immerse themselves in some of the history and culture of the countries they visit. The trip will include a visit to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Museum. Choir members prepared for this visit by traveling to the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., during the fall semester.

“Singing in diverse sites still scarred from wars of years past, the students will have an opportunity to critically reflect on the role of music in navigating conflict and finding peace,” says Hendricks Chapel Dean Tiffany Steinwert. “From the seat of imperial German power to the killing fields of Auschwitz, the tour takes students on a journey through the past, toward a future of hope with their voices as a sacred soundtrack.”