This post was written by Tessa Cooper. All photos by Tessa Cooper.
Members of the Missouri State University Chorale accrued thousands of frequent flier miles and several new passport stamps this past summer through their Scandinavia and China tours. From singing in ornate churches such as the Storkyrkan Cathedral in Stockholm to large venues like the Wukesong Gymnasium Olympic arena in Beijing, the Chorale was able to unite with other cultures through music.
“Singing is something that every person of every culture can do,” says Zach Reece, vocal music education major and bass in the MSU Chorale. “When people of separate cultures sing each other’s songs, it provides an easy way to show mutual appreciation and understanding of their cultures.”
To kick off an international summer, the Chorale spent 18 days trekking across Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
“I would travel back to any of these places in a heartbeat,” says Claire Kidwell, cultural studies major and soprano in the MSU Chorale. “I’m also going to miss traveling with a choir. It’s one of the absolute best ways to connect with a new culture.
Scandinavia Tour Highlights
* Curing jet lag by soaking in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
* Visiting Thingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall and the black sand beach in Iceland.
* Going on a speedboat tour through the fjords in Norway.
* Singing Tre Lå on a hill overlooking the old fishing village, Mollösund, Sweden. This Swedish folk song was traditionally sung by fishermen’s wives as a way to welcome them home.
* Exploring the cities of Reykjavik, Oslo, Bergen, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Copenhagen.
* Learning more about the culture of each country by staying with local hosts.
* Singing in the Skáholt Cathedral in Iceland; the Bergen Domkirke, Tingvang at Heggenes and University of Oslo in Norway; Oscar Fredriks Kyrkogata and the Storkyrkan Cathedral in Sweden; and Svenska Gustafskyrkan in Denmark.
Chorale’s First Tour of Asia
Traditionally, the Chorale only takes one international trip every two years. However, this year was an exception. Until 2018, the campus organization had toured across the globe, but never in Asia. So when the committee for the China International Chorus Festival invited the Chorale to perform as the featured distinguished choir, chorale members and conductor Dr. Cameron LaBarr couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
“This [was] a huge deal for the program and for MSU and will likely result in future invitations to Asian countries,” said Dr. Cameron LaBarr, director of choral studies. “It was a life-changing experience for our students.”
China Tour Highlights
* Hiking the Huanghuacheng section of The Great Wall.
* Visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing.
* Shopping at the Pearl Market and Silk Market.
* Sharing an impromptu choral exchange with the World Youth Choir.
* Visiting the mountainous Miao village in Kaili and experiencing a traditional rice wine ceremony.
* Singing in various venues for choral festivals in Beijing, Lanzhou and Kaili.
Show Support at the First Annual Choral Gala
In order to make future tours affordable for students, the choral studies program is hosting the first annual Choral Gala at 6 p.m. on Sept. 22 at Hotel Vandivort. The event will feature live entertainment, drinks and dinner catered by The Order, silent and live auction items, and a special performance by the Missouri State University Chorale.
Tickets are $150 per person and available at missouristate.edu/music/choralgala.