Encore Tours Spotlight: Heidelberg Concert Choir Tour to Eastern Europe

June 13, 2019 Jon Linker

The Heidelberg University Concert Choir, from Tiffin, Ohio, recently returned from a 10-day performance tour to Eastern Europe, impressing audiences in Hungary and the Czech Republic. There were also a number of Heidelberg University alumni joining the choir on the trip.

Informal performance on the steps of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Budapest

The tour started in Budapest, Hungary where the group had their debut performance before more than 100 people at St. Anna’s Church. The following day, the choir gave an informal concert on the steps of St. Stephen’s Basilica and enjoyed a folklore dinner that evening complete with live gypsy music and dancing.

The choir's performance in St. Anna's Church, Budapest

Transferring to the Czech Republic, the group spent two nights in Brno, the largest city in Moravia. There they explored the Moravian Karst region and Macocha Caves and had another formal concert at the Red Church in Brno.

Next, it was on to the Czech capital of Prague. One of the highlights of the trip was their performance in nearby Pribram at the annual Anton Dvořák Festival. One of only two American groups at the festival, the choir was asked to sing two encores and found out Dvořak’s great-grandson, Peter Dvořák, was in the audience.

Antonin Dvořák's grandson, Peter Dvořák

“The Dvořák Festival was really special,” said Greg Ramsdell, Director of Choral Activities at Heidelberg and Concert Choir director. “I’m glad that worked out. For the students that was really special.”

The choir’s final concert was at St. Thomas Church in Prague and afterward, they enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Vltava River to celebrate a successful trip.

“The venues were terrific,” Ramsdell said. “The acoustic environments were all really strong.”

“I loved every minute of the trip,” said choir member Jessie Gase. “Our tour guides Abi and Peter were absolutely wonderful.”

Choir member McCartney Betz added, “A fantastic first time abroad.  Singing at the Dvořák Festival is hard to beat.”

Photography credits to Martin Andrle. 

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About the Author

Jon Linker

Jon comes to Encore Tours after 20 years as a professional trumpet player in United States Air Force bands including assignments in Ohio, Germany, Massachusetts and California. During his military career he performed in concert band, jazz ensemble, brass quintet and marching band in more than 20 US states and 19 foreign countries. Jon holds a Bachelor's degree in trumpet performance from Northern Illinois University.

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