SPEARFISH | Dr. Jonathon Nero, professor of music, accompanied 45 students and chaperones from the Black Hills State University Choir across Europe this summer where they performed music, gained appreciation of their craft, and connected with significant music history.
The group visited locations in Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria. Performances were booked in local venues, town squares, and churches or cathedrals. Several informal recitals were held as well. Out of the seven performances, two of them were with other choirs.
Each performance was very well received, Nero said, “I received several emails asking for recordings and applauding our concerts. The praise really helped the students feel appreciated and recognized for all of their hard work.”
Every performance by the choir was received with either standing ovations and/or encores from the audience.
One performance that was uniquely special was held in Munich, Germany. Students joined with the Kantorei and St. Klara Choirs and recited a concert on VE-Day, May 8, as a celebration of peace.
In addition to performing, students were able to walk around and explore the locations they visited. The countries visited hold important music history. From Mozart’s birthplace to Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and more, these European countries have a lot of connection to the classical musicians.
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The group was able to access historically significant places in music that brought the history from the textbooks our students study into reality, shares Nero.
Rylann Olson, music education major from South Heart, N.D., said, “Learning about and witnessing historical sites of music was a great learning experience.
“My favorite part was visiting Mozart’s house. Exploring the place where he wrote big works, where he was born and where he played the violin was incredible,” Olson said.
The BHSU Choir tours annually whether locally, regionally or internationally. Typically the group travels internationally every four years. In 2018, the choir toured the Black Hills and traveled to schools and churches throughout the Southern Hills. This year, the chamber choir is tentatively planning a tour of the Dakotas.
“These trips are great for students because it gives us the chance to move people with our performances, and any chance to perform is great. Being able to perform in another culture or country and to sing in beautiful spaces is just an added bonus,” Olson said.