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Budapest: Video and Photo Update

By Ryan Endris on May 29, 2015

The Chamber Singers performing Arvo Paert’s Magnificat in Budapest at St. Michael’s Church.

The University Chorus performing Dvorak’s Mass in D (Agnus Dei) in Budapest at St. Michael’s Church.

Ryan Endris (Director of Choral Activities) in front of our final concert venue, St. Michael's Church in Budapest.Director Ryan Endris in front of St. Michael’s Church, our final concert venue in Budapest.

Farewell dinner cruise.

The farewell dinner cruise on the Danube.

A view of the Danube from the farewell dinner cruise.A view of the Danube from our farewell dinner cruise ship.

A view of the Hungarian parliament from the farewell dinner cruise boat.The Hungarian parliament as viewed from the Danube.

Sarah Stenske ('18), Iris Chen ('17), and Shambhavi Sawhney ('17) on the farewell dinner cruise in Budapest.Sarah Stenske (’18), Iris Chen (’17), and Shambhavi Sawhney (’17) on the farewell dinner cruise.

Logan Keig ('16) and Amanda James ('18) on the farewell dinner cruise in Budapest.Logan Keig (’16) and Amanda James (’17) on the farewell dinner cruise.

Budapest: the tour comes to a close

By Ryan Endris on May 25, 2015

Yesterday we took the coach 2.5 hours to our final destination of the tour, Budapest, Hungary. After settling into the hotel and having a quick lunch on our own, we met our tour guide Paul for a three-hour tour of Budapest. One of the most interesting things about the city is how the Danube river divides the city into the “Buda” side and the “Pest” side (we stayed on the Pest side). We enjoyed a lot of traditional Hungarian food, in which paprika is a popular ingredient (Hungary is known for its high-quality paprika).

Today we had free time to explore the bustling city centre, full of coffee shops, stores, restaurants, and the Great Market, a huge open-air market. We gathered at 17:00 to head to St. Michael’s Church, to give our final concert of the tour. Everyone performed magnificently for a packed church, and the audience was enamored by the choirs’ singing. As our Hungarian concert organizer said, “you had them eating out of your hand the entire time.” The students and I have learned a lot about how to make adjustments to our performances based on the acoustics of our performance venues!

The evening concluded with a two-hour dinner cruise on the Danube on a private boat. The food was excellent and the views were spectacular, but the camaraderie and enjoyment of all of the participants delighted me the most. It was a wonderful farewell to a successful tour. I hope you will enjoy a few photos from Budapest:

Budapest CastleBudapest Castle

Julia Zschiesche '17 and Charlotte Arbogast '16 at Budapest CastleJulia Zschiesche ’17 and Charlotte Arbogast ’16 at Budapest Castle

The poster for our concert in BudapestOur concert poster

The Chamber Singers in St. Michael's Church, BudapestThe Colgate Chamber Singers at St. Michael’s Church, Budapest

Vienna Update: Video and Photo

By Ryan Endris on May 24, 2015

Colgate University Chamber Singers performing in the Stephansdom in Vienna, Austria.

Colgate University Chorus performing in the Stephansdom in Vienna, Austria

Tour Group at Belvedere Palace in Vienna Austria Tour Group at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. Photo credit: Dylan Crouse ’15.

I’m a Fan of the Cobblestone roads!

By Jazmyn McKoy '17 on May 24, 2015

I’ve smiled and laughed so much in Prague, Bratislava, and Vienna- in spite of the rain and cold temperatures! I have especially enjoyed Bratislava because of its beautifully constructed buildings, separated by perfectly jagged cobblestone roads and restaurants filled with live music and delicious food at very reasonable prices. Also, Bratislava’s history has been very alive and active during our time here. A group is doing a reenactment of when Napoleon led the French in the siege of Bratislava. While walking through town, I’ve heard the sounds of cannons fired and have shared sidewalks with people dressed up in historical military costumes. I toured Prague, Budapest, and Vienna with my high school chorus, but I have never visited Bratislava. I think the complete newness of the city has also added to the excitement I’ve experienced. Overall, I’ve had a great time performing in and touring this city.

Today, we spent the day in Vienna! The Colgate University Chamber Singers gave a wonderful performance in Saint Stephenson’s church. The ornate gold and stone statues and painted murals made watching their performance seem even more majestic. The entire chorus also got to perform Ain’t that Good News as an encore!

Before the performance we had some free time to tour the city. Shambhavi and I peeked inside of St. Peter’s church, and with wide eyes and smiles we looked at each other and exclaimed “they’re singing Dvorjak!” The choir sang up on the balcony by the organ, so we couldn’t see the singers; however, just hearing their voices in another very beautiful church was awe-inspiring. We stayed for the entire mass service because the choir sang the piece in segments as the service went on. We both agreed that hearing the Dvorjak piece in the context of a mass service was a meaningful experience that added to our understanding of the music.

After lunch with a few new chorus friends, I got a slice of the famous Austrian Sachertorte cake from a charming pink shop called Aida. I’m usually not a fan of chocolate & fruit combos, but this apricot and chocolate dessert tasted better than I expected!

Touring Czech, Slovak, and Austrian restaurants has made me aware of my privilege as an English-speaking American. I can walk into most shops and communicate with someone working there who can speak my language. However, if an Austrian waiter, for example were to visit DC, they wouldn’t walk into most shops and restaurants with the expectation that someone there would greet them with a “guten tag.”

At dinner tonight a friend mentioned that we only have two days left! While was aware that we were leaving on Wednesday, it really hit me how little time we have left here in Europe before we return home 🙁 I’m looking forward to our trip to Budapest tomorrow!

Bratislava, Slovakia

By Ryan Endris on May 23, 2015

We arrived in Bratislava yesterday (22 May), after a 4.5 hour coach ride from Prague. On our way to Bratislava, we stopped in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic (~500,000 population) for a quick lunch in the city’s downtown. After arriving in our hotel in early evening, we had a delicious group dinner in a local restaurant that served traditional Slovak cuisine. Then everyone was free to spend the evening as they chose, although a number of us spent time socializing at the hotel.

Today began with a 9:30 am tour of Bratislava. Unfortunately, the weather has been cold and rainy here, so half of the tour was given on the coach (as opposed to entirely walking). Everyone reconvened in the evening for rehearsal at the Jesuit Church of the Holy Redeemer. In the middle of our rehearsal, a Mass unexpectedly started, and we had to stop rehearsal (we were supposed to have from 5:30 until 6:30 to rehearse, and we had to stop at 6:00). None of the concert organizers even knew about this second Saturday evening Mass.

Despite the disruption and the less-than-desirable weather, we had a beautiful concert, which was very well attended and very well received. Both the Czech and Slovak audiences were excited and pleased that we had brought with us the music of Dvorak, which they consider one of their own.

Concert Poster in Bratislava


Jesuit Church of the Holy Redeemer (Bratislava)

Prague Day 2

By Dylan Crouse '15 on May 23, 2015


Prague City CentrePhoto by Dylan Crouse ’15.


A beautiful view of Prague at twilight on our second day. This is in the city center, and the large building is a church with an astronomical clock.


Excerpt from Dvorak’s Mass in D (performed in Prague)

By Ryan Endris on May 21, 2015

An exceptionally well-done job by Glenn Kime (university organist and staff accompanist) for artfully mastering this Baroque organ in only a couple of hours!

Video clip from our first concert!

By Ryan Endris on May 21, 2015

In response to John Stratton’s post earlier today, I’m posting a 10-minute clip from our concert yesterday. You can really hear the expansive acoustics of the Church of the Holy Saviour.

First Cathedral Concert

By John Stratton on May 21, 2015
The chorus spent a lot of rehearsal time this semester with a work by the composer Dvorak, who spent much of his time living and composing in Prague.  After our first night’s sleep in Europe, chorus members (experiencing various degrees of jet lag) spent the morning touring a museum dedicated to Dvorak, seeing things like his composing desk, his piano, and the robes he wore to accept an honorary doctorate from Cambridge.
Dvorak Museum
In the meantime, Dr. Endris spent some time with the European healthcare system to address a case of tonsillitis.  He was sent back to the hotel with antibiotics for some rest, and our accompanist did a wonderful job leading us through rehearsal in his absence.  Thankfully, Dr. Endris was able to recover enough to rejoin us and conduct the concert.  Our audience started arriving very early, and eventually over 170 people had arrived to listen to our performance that mixed American and Czech composers.    The choir’s voices echoed through The Church of the Holy Saviour, which was a new experience for us compared to our Colgate Memorial Chapel back home.  Afterwards, several attendees shared their own memories of learning to sing Dvorak’s music in their own school days, and their appreciation that a group of Colgate students both carries on that tradition and was able to share it with them now.
Rehearsal at the Church of the Holy Saviour Rehearsal at the Church of the Holy Saviour Rehearsal at the Church of the Holy Saviour
We still have one more day in the Czech Republic, but we’re already looking forward to the next concert in Bratislava, Slovakia.


Off to a busy start in Prague!

By Ryan Endris on May 20, 2015

After many hours of traveling from Hamilton to JFK to Frankfurt, and finally to Prague, we hit the ground running yesterday with many activities. We checked into the Hotel Duo, and then we got on the coach to go to the city centre, where there are many old churches, shops, cafes, and restaurants. We had our first group dinner in a restaurant called Apetit. There we also celebrated Elyse McGrath’s birthday, which was yesterday. And today is Lydia Mesler’s birthday. Tonight is our first concert in the Chuch of the Holy Saviour, also located in the city centre. More updates tomorrow after our concert! Until then, enjoy a few pictures.


IMG_2680 IMG_2698 IMG_2699

Welcome to Prague!

By Andrea Maistros '15 on May 19, 2015

Prague is filled with music. From the sheet music themed jewelry sold on the Charles’ bridge, to the giant metronome monument in the park, the city is infused with its connection to the giants of composition that lived and worked here. It is only fitting that the Colgate University Choral Ensembles initiated our European Concert Tour here.

Our first song was not Dvořák or Brahms, however, but “Happy Birthday” for one of our sopranos, Elyse. Considering we haven’t had a formal rehearsal in Europe yet, we all sounded pretty wonderful!

We are fortunate that everyone arrived with their luggage, and we had no incidents during travel. Everyone is very excited for our first performance tomorrow!!

Check out our photos here!


European Concert Tour Commences in Four Days!

By Ryan Endris on May 14, 2015

On Monday, May 18, members of the Colgate University Chorus and Chamber Singers will depart for a ten-day tour of Central Europe, with performances in Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, and Budapest. This tour is generously supported by the Helen K. Persson Fund for the Performing Arts, the Office of the President, and the Colgate University Department of Music.

The Colgate University Chorus is a large, mixed-voice ensemble that performs a broad range of traditional choral literature, often with an accompanying professional orchestra. The University Chorus is open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members by audition. 49 singers are the ambassadors for the 80-voice University Chorus while on tour of Central Europe. The Chamber Singers is a select student choral ensemble that specializes in the performance of a cappella choral music at the highest level. The members of the 18-voice Chamber Singers are all members of the University Chorus. In addition to performing in concert, the Chamber Singers perform at several university functions, including athletic events and the annual Lessons & Carols service each December.

Touring is one of the most important scholastic activities for choral organizations and the academic institutions they represent. Audiences across central Europe will have the opportunity to hear and meet the bright, talented students of Colgate University. The students, in turn, will have the cultural and musical experience of a lifetime—the opportunity to perform in other societies and cultures, while learning about those cultures and the birthplace of Western art music. The concert tour is a valuable opportunity to experience the historical and cultural context of the music we study, rehearse, and perform at Colgate University. Finally, concert tours bring students together, increasing student interest in choral music and cementing Colgate friendships for a lifetime.

On the tour, the choirs will perform music by composers who have a connection to the cities on our concert tour: Antonín Dvořák, who lived and worked in Prague, our first destination; Johannes Brahms, who spent most of his career in Vienna; and Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, whose music we will perform in Budapest. As part of the tour, the University Chorus and Chamber Singers will also perform in Bratislava, Slovakia.