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Home > PHC Chorale Plans Spring Tour Through Europe

PHC Chorale Plans Spring Tour Through Europe

December 21st, 2009

By Sarah Pride

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

Patrick Henry College Chorale preps for its Lessons & Carols Christmas concert

Beautiful Christmas music, performed live; glitter and glue; a towering Christmas tree. For the last four years, the Patrick Henry College Chorale has ushered in the Christmas season with an evening of carols and ornament-decorating for students, culminating with lighting a huge Christmas tree—this year hosted in the stately Grand Lobby of the Barbara Hodel Center (BHC). The evening provided a happy break for students in finals cram season, one of the most stressful parts of the fall semester. With this ceremony, along with special Advent Chapels in this pre-Christmas season and its Lessons & Carols concert for the community, the Chorale once again played an important role in helping the College establish traditions meant to last its lifetime.

Most exciting of all, this talented musical ensemble is now preparing for its first-ever European tour during spring break, April 1-11, 2010. For the last several months, Chorale members have worked individually to earn the money and support for the trip. At this point, they still need a total of $2500 for insurance by the end of January, but they have raised the rest.

“I expect a whole lot of memories,” anticipates senior Jacob Baum, who is one of a few Chorale members who have sung with the group for almost four years now. “I’ve been out of the country once, when I was little. I expect my view of the world increase in size and scope.”

The Chorale itinerary will take them from Munich, Germany through Salzburg and Vienna in Austria, and then on to Venice, Italy. At each stop, the Chorale will sing in historic locations or participate in local church services. In Mestre, Italy, by Venice, for instance, the Chorale will perform in a joint concert with the Coro Alpino Veneziano, a men’s chorus that sings mountain songs in close harmony.

“[It will be] definitely a cultural exchange!” exclaims PHC Director of Music Dr. Steve McCollum, who has led and directed the Chorale for the last three years.

PHC Chorale in performance

It has taken all three years to develop the Chorale toward the goal of this European tour, adds McCollum, who has stewarded the team as it grew in both knowledge and skills.

“The Chorale’s appreciation for fine choral literature has grown, as has their expectation for their own artistic achievement, and their knowledge of their own voices and technique,” McCollum explains. “It takes a multi-year commitment to develop that fine product -- just as with any team -- to develop a sense of esprit de corps in the ensemble.”

From the student perspective, Baum relates that his “appreciation for choral music has blossomed” and that he has “learned a lot about singing.” In addition, he sees that “music gives a holistic view of the liberal arts,” something that McCollum notes as a further goal for the European tour as well.

“The purpose [of the trip] is to draw connections between all the courses of the classical liberal arts,” he says. “We intend to experience some of that art, history, etc. in person. We will highlight American composers, as well as music from the areas we are travelling. Of course, we also hope to be salt and light wherever we are.”

Students are able to audition for the PHC Chorale at the start of each school year. Singers come from every academic major at the College.

If you are interested in aiding the PHC Chorale’s trip to Europe by contributing to the remaining $2500 needed, please click here. Note in the Comments section that your donation is for the Chorale.