Central College’s A Cappella Choir will take Austria and Germany by song May 16-27, with more than 60 student vocalists performing on tour. Local students part of the tour include:

Elijah Miller and Hannah Miller of Newhall

The choir performs internationally every four years, and more than 60 student vocalists are part of this tour. While in Vienna, the choir will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Central’s study abroad program in Austria.

Director Mark Babcock, manager Debbie Abel and accompanist Kris De Wild have been planning the trip for 18 months, and the talented group has been rehearsing its music for nearly as long. The tour takes students to many inspiring spaces to sing, says Babcock, and many different audiences to inspire. Most notably, the choir will be singing in Vienna’s iconic cathedral, Stephansdom, as well as performing with one of the world’s best known choirs: the Vienna Boys’ Choir.

Performances will include American and European choral works. Sophomore choir member Mackenzie Fuller says she is “most excited to sing music written by Austrian and German composers in cathedrals that they actually walked and composed in.”

For junior Wyatt Rath, the trip is an opportunity to see Europe for the first time and make the most of his Central experience. “I’m especially excited to spend time in the Western music capital of the world in Vienna,” Rath says. “The opportunity to sing in a myriad of places halfway around the world makes me feel incredibly fortunate to be in a special organization like the A Cappella Choir.”

Students will also take advantage of cultural learning opportunities in Salzburg, Munich, Schwabisch Hall and Eichstatt. “The amount of culture at your fingertips is mind-blowing!” says sophomore Anne Coughenour. “It’ll be so fun to travel with my best friends and explore a country that’s entirely new to me.”

Other destinations include some of Europe’s greatest museums and cathedrals, as well as Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp. The trip will be the perfect bookend to four rich years at Central, says senior Betsy Van Haaften.

The tour is supported by choir performances and fundraisers throughout the year, as well as Central’s music department and choir alumni, friends and families. With substantial funding, the trip provides an affordable way for students to experience other parts of the world. “I am very thankful that I get to have an experience like this at such a low cost here at Central,” says junior Tristan Miedema. “I will not have the chance to study abroad, so this will serve as my international experience.”

After performing two pre-tour concerts on campus April 29-30, the group is ready to take its music across the Atlantic. Above all, Babcock says he hopes students will learn new lessons about the value of music during the trip. “One of the great takeaways for students is that they realize through singing that music is a way to connect with people,” he says.

Founded in 1853, Central College of Pella, Iowa, is a private, residential four-year liberal arts college known for its academic rigor and strength in global experiential learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), sustainability education, athletics success and tradition, and leadership and service. Central continues to value its long-standing relationship with the Reformed Church in America.