Bemidji State University Singers to embark on European tour

BEMIDJI, Minn. (May 9, 2011) — For 12 days in May, the Bemidji State University Singers will embark on a tour of Europe and perform at least a half-dozen concerts at famed churches, cathedrals and other historic landmarks across four nations.

The choir will depart Minneapolis on May 10, and over the next two weeks visit Germany, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.

The concert schedule kicks off Thursday, May 12, with a 20-minute informal concert in Leipzig, Germany’s St. Thomas Church.

The St. Thomas Church is one of two houses of worship in Leipzig’s city center. For 800 years, it has been the home of the St. Thomas Boys Choir and a place of musical creativity; it is also the final resting place of the famous St. Thomas Cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach.

The church dates back to the 12th Century, and the University of Leipzig was founded there in 1409. In 1539, Martin Luther preached the implementation of the Reformation in the church.

On Friday, May 13, the choir arrives in Prague in the Czech Republic, where they will prepare for a 2 p.m. May 14 concert at St. Nicholas Church.

The church’s history can be traced back as far a the year 1283, when a place of worship started its existence as a parish church under the name and protection of St. Nicholas. The unique vault and dome that has become one of  Prague’s signature landmarks was designed in 1702.

On Sunday, May 15, the choir will be in Vienna, Austria, to participate in mass and perform a concert at Annakirche

Annakirche dates back to an original chapel construction from 1320. It was transformed into a Baroque church between 1629 and 1634, when it gained its signature tower, and was remodeled after a fire in 1747. A mummified hand, a relic of St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, is displayed at the church every year on July 26, St. Anne’s Day.

The next day, the choir will sing at the morning prayer service at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. The cathedral contains a wealth of art treasures, some of which are only available to be seen during guided tours, and features a tower with 343 steps offering breathtaking views of the city. The cathedral’s origins can be traced back to the early 12th century and it is currently the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna.

On May 17, the choir will return to the Czech Republic for a 7 p.m. performance at the Ruze baroque library in Cesky Krumlov.

The choir’s final concert stop comes in Berlin on May 20, where it will give a one-hour performance at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche as part of a charity concert for the restoration of the church’s 5,000-pipe organ. The original church was constructed in the 1890s but was badly damaged in a 1943 bombing raid. The present building was constructed between 1959 and 1963 and retains the original’s damaged spire, which now contains a memorial hall.

Thursday, May 12: Informal concert at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany.
Saturday, May 14: 2 p.m. – one-hour performance at St. Nicholas Church in Prague, Czech Republic.
Sunday, May 15: 6 p.m. – participate in mass and perform at Annakirche in Vienna, Austria.
Monday, May 16 – performance at morning prayer service at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.
Tuesday, May 17: 7 p.m. – one-hour performance at Ruze baroque library in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.
Wednesday, May 18: possible joint concert with local choir near Dresden, Germany.
Friday, May 20: 8 p.m. – performance at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche in Berlin, Germany.