The Davidson Chorale 2010 Concert Tour of Germany and the Czech Republic
As any choir director, staff member, volunteer, or ACFEA Tour Manager can tell you, planning a concert tour takes an immense amount of work. And yet, no matter how carefully you do it, or how far in advance you begin, some of the most special moments are ones that miraculously fall into place, the ones you couldn’t plan if you tried.
On Easter Sunday, 2010, The Davidson Chorale from the Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta, Georgia, directed by Dr. Timothy Powell, sang as part of an evening worship service at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany. This was clearly a great honor, and one well deserved. As part of their promotional materials, Dr. Powell sent a link to a video posted on the local media’s website. In it, they were singing a Bach motet. When the clergy at the Thomaskirche saw the video and heard the teenagers from Georgia performing the mature literature so well, they immediately extended the invitation for them to sing in their church. Singing in the Thomaskirche is an incredible, lifechanging experience for any group. It’s where Bach worked as Cantor from 1723 until his death and where his remains lie, so it is revered as a hallowed space by all musicians.
The Davidson Chorale in St. Nicholas Church, Old Town Square, in Prague, Czech Republic
But singing in Bach’s church wasn’t the only significant part of their performance. An ocean away their friends at Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta, Georgia, were singing the same music. And thanks to Leipzig being several time zones ahead of Georgia, they were even singing at the exact same hour.
“When we found out that one of our local churches would be singing the William Billings’ Easter Anthem at the exact same moment on Easter Sunday that we were standing on Bach’s grave singing in the Thomaskirche, it was spine-tingling,” Dr. Powell said of the performance.
The Davidson Chorale went on to have many more shining moments on tour. Dr. Powell continued to say, “Our tour started with a desire to share the best and most significant music from American composers with the world. To us, the opportunity to sing Randall Thompson, Eric Whitacre, MortenLauridsen, and Moses Hogan in European venues was a wonderful experience in itself.”
They brought their music to Dresden’s Loschwitzerkirche to a standingroom-only house, and the singers were treated to a reception both before and after the concert. Another packed house was waiting for them in Prague, at the Church of St. Nicholas in the Old Town Square. But the extraordinary coincidence of the Easter Sunday services was a once-in-a-lifetime experience at which we can only marvel.