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Traveling with a choir: Making travel accessible and memorable through music – News


After a pandemic travel hiatus, the Missouri State University Choir returns from a tour of South Africa.

Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, China, Spain, Germany, and South Africa: Missouri State University Chorale students tend to graduate with multiple stamps in their passports.

Every two years, the members of the choir look forward to an international tour of the choir. For its 2022 international tour, the Choir traveled to South Africa from May 21 to June 8.

The group has performed with local choirs in Cape Town, the Drakensberg Mountains and Johannesburg. The choir was also able to travel to the Basque Country region of Spain last fall to sing in the Tolosa Choral Competition.

Choral poses in South Africa.

Cultural experience enhances education

Some students have returned to South Africa with the Missouri State Chorale for the second time since the choir’s first visit in 2015.

“Returning to South Africa is a truly unique experience,” said Zach Reece, graduate student in choir conducting. “On parts of the tour I found myself recognizing places we had been on the last tour or seeing places and shops that I know I explored last time. was no less amazing than the first trip.

Traveling with a choir goes far beyond the typical tourist experience:

  • The members of the choir immerse themselves in new cultures by singing with and for the locals.
  • They cross unknown cities and landscapes alongside their friends and future colleagues.
  • They connect to the past by performing traditional music appropriate to the region they are visiting.

“This country changes you,” said vocal music education major Anna Brummell. “Nature, of course, is beautiful. They have mountains, oceans, lush greens, and as many monkeys as we have squirrels.

“But the most beautiful part of South Africa is the people. What I noticed at our first gig in Cape Town was that no one had put up their walls.

Choir poses in front of the mountain overlooking the sea.

Travel and the arts provide perspective

For each round, Dr. Cameron LaBarrdirector of choral studies at Missouri State, collaborates with Perform International to create an itinerary that balances time in major international cities, but also remote country experiences.

Between performances, the choir:

  • I flew to Frankfurt, Germany and saw the sights of the Rhine Valley.
  • Explore Camps Bay and the Atlantic coast.
  • Hike in the Drakensberg Mountains.
  • I went on safari in Kruger National Park.

“It’s certainly been difficult the past few months with the travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19,” LaBarr said. “However, we are now even more aware of the real importance of sharing culture across international borders.

“We live in a world of seemingly constant challenges – but music and the arts create conversations and allow people to empathize in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.”

Learn more about the Choral Studies Program