Chorale Performs in Austria
By Merritt Jenkins
The Lee University Chorale, led by Dr. William Green, recently toured and performed throughout Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany. The group was invited to perform in Vienna for the last concert of the city’s International Advent Sing Festival in December. This is the second time Lee has been invited to perform at the festival.
“The trip was designed to give students a chance to discover the culture of the area, but also to visit places that are specifically important to us as musicians,” said Green. “We sang at the City Hall in Vienna, and it was packed with people who wanted to hear Christmas music. Ensembles were there from many places around the world and even though we didn’t speak the same language there was a common bond in our language of music.”
During Chorale’s nine-day tour, the students visited a variety of cities including Halle, the birthplace of Handel, and Leipzig, a town where Bach lived and worked. Students presented concerts in St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, at the Frauenkirche in Dresden, at St. Vitus in Prague, and with the Norfolk Christian School Choir at St. Nicholas Church. In Vienna, they performed at Schönbrunn Palace, at the Melk Abbey, and closed out the tour with the final concert at the Vienna City Hall.
“Our trip to Austria was such a manifestation of God’s goodness,” said Chorale student Meagan Schlabach. “There were multiple instances during this trip where I was brought to tears because I was overwhelmed by the presence of God. One specific instance was when we were touring a cathedral in Prague, and we spontaneously broke out into worship. In that moment, even though there were people surrounding us, our only audience member was the Lord. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I am so thankful for these priceless memories.”
The students also had the chance to explore the culture of each country, visiting various castles, attending the Sergei Prokofiev’s opera “L’amour des Trois Oranges” in Prague, and taking waltz lessons at one of the local studios in Vienna.
“This experience with Chorale was unexpected and life changing,” said student Austin Lee. “We had the opportunity to sing in beautiful churches and cathedrals all over Germany, Czech Republic, and Vienna. However, the true beauty of the trip was molded by the relationships that came to fruition among the choir.”
In addition to directing the Lee University Chorale, Green serves as dean of Lee’s School of Music and a professor of choral music. He has collaborated with many of today’s leading conductors and has led performances of many of the major works for chorus and orchestra.
Lee University Chorale is known for the breadth of its repertoire, which ranges from sacred classical works and spirituals to vibrant cultural pieces. The ensemble has been featured in performances at Carnegie Hall and has traveled across Europe, performing at the Vatican, St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.