Richard Eaton Singers 2013 Concert Tour of Germany

Article written by Rachel Flamm, ACFEA Tour Manager

Back in February 2011, I received an email from the Richard Eaton Singers of Edmonton, Alberta. A few years back, I had worked with their director Leonard Ratzlaff on a tour of Ireland for the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, and now his large symphonic chorus was looking to tour Europe. We quickly narrowed in on a tour of Germany because of its great musical history. Over the next year we worked on the itinerary to come up with something the group members would enjoy, be affordable for the greatest number of people and include the best musical opportunities we could find. In the end, we came up with a tour starting in Munich, continuing north to Berlin and finishing in one of the most musically historic cities anywhere in Europe: Leipzig.

Richard Eaton Singers performs in the Gedächtniskirche in Berlin

The group started out with three performances in the south of Germany, including one in Ulm Minster (the tallest church in the world) and one as part of the Ehingen Musiksommer festival in the Liebfrauenkirche. “The church was excellent as a concert venue with wonderful acoustics – it made the music almost sing itself,” noted one tour participant.

The tour continued nicely, with concerts in Jena and Berlin, including a performance in the Berlin Dom, but all the tour participants I’ve spoken with have commented on the final two performances in Leipzig as being particularly special experiences. For a service at the Thomaskirche, the choir performed Bach’s Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht, originally performed on the same date in the church calendar 290 years ago. One tour participant noted that singing Bach in his home church was a highlight of a lifetime. The choir’s second Leipzig performance was outside at the Bach-Denkmal (Bach Memorial) near the Thomaskirche, part of the regular summer concert series there. The next morning, as the group was checking in at the airport, I got the following message from Len Ratzlaff, “We had a tremendous concert experience last night in front of an estimated 1,500 at the Bach-Denkmal in Leipzig, a perfect ending to what has been a great tour, but just wanted to say thanks for an outstanding experience for our singers.”

To learn more about Germany as a possible concert tour destination for your ensemble, please visit our Germany destination page, or contact us.