Friday, March 11, 2005
In late May, 67 children will relinquish a few days of summer vacation to perform abroad.
The young vocalists of the Lawrence Children's Choir have been invited to perform in Eutin, Germany, as part of the Lawrence Sister Cities program.
The singers will offer a preview concert at 5 p.m. Saturday at Lawrence High School.
Choir director Janeal Krehbiel chose the repertoire with the trip in mind. It includes an African-American spiritual, American folk songs, a Hebrew piece, and the finale from the "Gondoliers" by Gilbert and Sullivan. The choir also will perform a special German rendition of "Three Brahms Love Songs."
The children will stay in a youth hostel and spend half of the trip in Eutin and the other half in Berlin. From there, they will visit Hamburg, LÃ¼beck, the Baltic Sea, Schwerin, Potsdam and FÃ¼rstenwalde.
The choir will perform three times in Eutin, once in the historic cathedral of St. Mary in LÃ¼beck, and in Bad Schwartau. The group also will also sing in a neighborhood of former East Berlin and in the Cathedral of FÃ¼rstenwalde.
"One of our concerts is actually in St. Michael's. It's very unusual for us to get an invitation to sing a concert there because they have very strict rules," Krehbiel says. "We sent a CD to them, and the man in charge of music at the church is letting us do a full concert."
In addition to the seven performances, the choir will take part in a youth and children's choir mixer to become acquainted with an award-winning choir from Hellersdorf, a neighborhood of former East Berlin.
The children, grades 5-9, have dedicated much time studying German words, transportation methods and greetings.
"The older kids were in England two years ago, so some of them have been out of the country," Krehbiel says. "But for a lot of them, it's their first trip, and for some, their first plane ride."
The choir has developed quite a reputation after releasing four CDs and performing at several prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall in 2000, several spots on the England tour in 2003, and the Southwestern American Choral Directors Assn.'s convention in 2004.
Saturday's concert also will feature music from the Choristers, the choir's preparatory group, and a choir from each of the Lawrence high schools.
"I just think it will just be an incredible experience for the kids," Krehbiel says of the spring tour. "It's a good way for us to be ambassadors from our town and go to theirs."