LONGMEADOW, Mass.—Singing for hundreds of people in European venues that were once the homes of royalty sounds like a dream, but for 13 area college students it became a reality. Comprised of students from Bay Path College and Westfield State University, the Bay Path College Festival Choir recently performed in Munich, Germany and Salzburg, Austria, singing for local residents and visitors at St. Michael's Church, Wieskirche—Pilgrimage Church, and Castle Neuschwanstein, among other historical sites. Developed and organized by Li Ciaglo, Director of Performing Arts at Bay Path, with the choir under the direction of Scott Bailey, the group embarked on the overseas trip last month to perform as part of the 2010 Advent Choral Festival.
“The experience was particularly moving,” said Mandy Placeres ’11, a biology major who resides in Enfield, CT. “We performed in beautiful churches and palaces, places we had read about in our academic texts when studying World War II. It was a great educational experience touring the cities and witnessing firsthand the wounds and devastation of war. We were moved with compassion for the citizens that worked to rebuild their cities and lives."
Wolfgang Buchman, entrepreneur and owner of the international organization Music and Friends, invited the Festival Choir to perform in the 2010 festival season after hearing the Festival Choir’s performance last year in Prague, Czech Republic. The choir has also performed in Vienna, Austria.
“To have had an opportunity to perform in Europe was a thrilling experience for our choir members. They sang in some of the most acoustically beautiful churches and venues to help celebrate the Advent season,” said Ciaglo. “Their talent and professionalism earned high praise and respect from their audiences and fellow choral groups. We were pleased with our performance effort and were grateful for our concert opportunities. We look forward to returning to Europe next Advent season.”
During the eight-day tour, the choir participated in six performances, including several Friendship Concerts, in which they sang alongside performers from colleges, universities and choirs across Europe.