Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor
The Berry Singers will be traveling to Europe this spring break to perform their concert program in Austria and the Czech Republic from March 8 to March 17.
When Paul Neal, Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music, joined the Berry faculty he wanted to create more opportunities for Berry’s choir ensembles to tour. Touring the ensembles gives a wider audience the experience of hearing Berry’s students and gives more exposure to the college and its choir programs as a whole, Neal said. It also gives students the opportunity to perform to audiences abroad.
“Music is the universal language, it’s the opportunity for them to experience emotions and the fine arts through music and getting that connection with people in a whole other country,” Neal said.
The choir has been planning and preparing for the trip since the fall. Neal said he hopes to take a large trip like this with the choir every three to four years so that each class of students can travel with the choir at least once during their time at Berry.
“I’ve never been to Europe,” sophomore music major Kenny Morgan said. “I’m excited about that, I’m excited to experience different cultures. I’m excited to spend time and hang out with the Berry Singers. They’re a really great group of people, so I’m really excited to be able to experience this with them.”
The first half of the concert features songs from European composers, such as Mozart and Dvorák, while the second half of the concert consists of American songs like “Georgia On My Mind” and “Shenandoah”. One specific American piece that Neal chose was “Let the River Run,” a song about three rivers, which the choir will use to represent the three rivers of Rome.
“We are singing a few of the songs in a different language, so the biggest difficulty is trying to pronounce their language correctly,” Morgan said.
The choir will take a guided walking tour in each city that they visit, and they will have half a day to explore the city on their own. Neal said he is very excited to give students the opportunity to travel outside the country and experience new cultures.
“I’m excited for them to see the impact of their music-making on different cultures, communities and people, and to see that their music translates languages, that the music they are making will impact the people in Czechoslovakia as much as it does the people in Georgia,” Neal said.
The concert is an hour long. Sophomore Joey Pratt said he learned a lot in preparing for such a long concert.
While in Europe, the choir will perform in a high school in Vienna that specializes in the arts. While there, Berry and the high school choir will take place in a concert exchange: the Berry Singers will sing, then the high school, and finally they will sing together.
“I am most excited about meeting the students in the high schools over there,” Pratt said.
Neal said that it will be a great opportunity for the Berry Singers to connect with some younger generations and to potentially bring some of those students back as foreign exchange students.