The students of the Music in Europe Abroad (Winter 2022-2023) embarked on a remarkable journey into the musical cultures of Austria, the Czech Republic, and France. Two highlights in Austria were hearing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony performed traditionally on New Year's Eve in Vienna and the special opportunity of singing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's beautiful choral work "Ave verum" in the St. Stephanspfarrkirche in Baden, the original parish church for which the piece was written in 1791. Paris highlights included calligraphy and cooking lessons and attending Mozart's Marriage of Figaro in the grand Royal Opera House at the Palace of Versailles. In the Czech Republic, students had the privilege of immersing themselves in Czech folk music, dance, and cuisine under the guidance of guest lecturer and pianist, Dr. Vartan Agopian of Charles University, gaining deep insight into the evolving musical culture.
One of the students, Jeremy Ramirez Garcia (C'22), fondly recalled the train ride to Hradec Kralove to meet and sing with the Czech national boychoir group, Boni Pueri, during their preparations for an international tour, as well as, on a lighter note, the delightful discovery of the best kebab burgers at a charming shack on the outskirts of Vienna. Jeremy expressed gratitude for the supportive abroad group and their European adventures.
Upon returning, students presented an hour-long learning showcase in which they shared reflections on spiritual and personal growth, cultural analysis and comparison of the three countries. The Music Abroad program made a profound impact on these students and gave them lifelong memories and a deep appreciation for the richness of diverse musical traditions. Thank you to Dr. Joe Van Riper (C'05), Dr. Rose Whitmore, and Christa Seid-Graham (C'09), Resident Counselor, for their careful planning and leadership throughout the abroad program!
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