HIGH POINT, N.C., June 17, 2014 – Dozens of music and choir students at High Point University recently took the trip of a lifetime in Europe during a “Maymester” course abroad. Students in the spring 2014 choral ensemble traveled with Dr. Marc Foster, HPU chair of the department of music and director of choral activities, through Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary for “An American Celebration of Music” tour. The choir performed at notable locations throughout the countries, including the Esztergom Basilica in Hungary; St. Michael’s Church in Budapest; and St. Nicholas Church, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Lobkowicz Palace in Prague.
Additionally, 10 students joined Dr. Scott MacLeod and Dr. Candice Burrows, instructors of music at HPU, on the “Rock me Amadeus” program. The group walked in the footsteps of Mozart as they traveled through Prague, Vienna and Salzburg, examining the life and work of the famed composer and his impact on today’s arts and society. Several of the students and faculty involved in the trip also joined the “American Celebration” choir tour to sing concerts with fellow HPU students in Prague.
In Vienna, the choir performed at St. Charles’ Church and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. “It was a very special acoustic environment to sing in,” says rising senior Callie Klinkmueller after performing at St. Charles’. “I will always remember listening to one of my high notes reverting back at me five seconds after I finished singing. It was truly remarkable.”
Student Cara Kramer recalls the solo she sang during the recital at St. Stephen’s: “It really hit me afterward that I had just sung a solo part in the church where Mozart was married, his children were baptized and his funeral was held,” Kramer says. “Dr. Foster also pointed out that almost any historical European figure from the past 900 or so years has been in that church, which absolutely blows my mind.”
Students also had the opportunity to explore the Prague Castle; stay at a monastery in Salzburg; trek through Austria and visit notable locations from the “Sound of Music;” learn about the Terezín concentration camp in the Czech Republic; and attend the “Aida” opera at the famed Vienna State Opera. “This trip truly opened my eyes and made me grasp the information learned in a new way,” says rising senior Grace Beal. “While learning information in class is impactful to the mind, seeing it unfold into reality is impactful to the heart. By walking in Mozart’s shoes for a few weeks, I have been able to open my mind and heart to his life and his work which has been the most powerful learning experience one can hold.
Seeing history become reality is an impactful learning mechanism, and truly exudes within this course.” The music programs were two of 13 Global Experience “Maymester” courses that gave students and faculty the opportunity to be immersed in cultures unlike their own. Other programs traveled to South Africa, Spain, Japan, Argentina, the Netherlands, Ecuador and more.